SIDNEY — Sidney’s Miami Valley League title hopes received a last-second blow on Tuesday to set up a must-win situation on Friday.
Tippecanoe senior forward Nolan Mader made a basket with three seconds left to give the squad the lead, and Sidney missed a last-second shot and lost a MVL showdown 53-52 on Tuesday.
The Yellow Jackets (17-4, 14-3) rallied late and looked to be on their way to securing a share of the overall MVL title.
Dominick Durr hit a basket with 1:26 left to pull Sidney within 51-50. After a missed shot, the Red Devils fouled Devin Taborn, who hit two free throws with 29 seconds left to put Sidney ahead 52-51.
Mader missed a 3 shortly after and Tippecanoe fouled Durr, who missed a one-and-one opportunity with 17 seconds left. Mader redeemed his early miss by making a put-back off the glass with three seconds left.
“For some reason, we had a bad (defensive) switch there,” Sidney coach John Willoughby said. “Darren (Taborn) and Devin switched, Avante (Martin) had to come over and help (defend the first shooter), and that left (Mader) open for an easy stick-back.
“It was poor communication there by us off a missed free-throw. …We just weren’t focused enough and communicating well-enough there.”
After a timeout, Durr took an inbounds pass at about half court and dribbled to the basket but missed a shot off the glass at the buzzer.
It was a bad defensive end to what Willoughby said was an otherwise good defensive effort. The Yellow Jackets held the Red Devils to 18 less points than they scored in a 14-point victory in the teams’ first MVL matchup.
Tippecanoe was slowed in the second half and scored 20 points. The Red Devils led 33-26 at halftime but Sidney started the first quarter on an 11-3 run, which Durr capped off with a basket on a drive with 4:02 left to give the Yellow Jackets a 37-36 lead.
Sidney finished the third on a 9-4 run to take a 46-43 lead into the fourth quarter
“We got Darren involved the post defensively, and that helped,” Willoughby said. “… We just struggled to score for some reason tonight. Too many no-passes and shots, too many one-passes and shots. Too much trying to break someone down for myself and not trying to break someone down for my teammate.
“Our offense is a little stagnant. I’m a little disappointed in that.”
The loss was Sidney’s first in back-to-back games in two years. The Yellow Jackets lost 82-67 to West Carrollton on Friday. They entered Friday’s game with a two-game lead over the Pirates (15-5, 14-3) but are now tied with them atop the 10-team MVL.
The squad will have to beat Greenville (5-15, 3-14) on Friday in its regular-season finale to secure a league title. Sidney won the team’s first MVL matchup 54-37 on Jan. 10 in Greenville.
“We’ve got one more chance,” Willoughby said. “It’s going to come down to the wire, which is nice for the league and says a lot about the strength of the league.
“We played well early, and now other teams are playing well. It’s a long season, and we’ve got to get it together for Friday and then for the tournament.”
Durr led Sidney with 14 points while Trey Werntz scored eight. Martin scored six points and had four rebounds, three assists and two blocks. Jaden Swiger scored six points and Darren and Devin Taborn each scored five.
Sidney shot 21 for 50 (42 percent) from the floor.
Mader finished with 16 points while Gavin Garlitz scored 12.
The Yellow Jackets led for most of the first quarter but Mader made a 3 from the right wing at the buzzer to give Tippecanoe a 15-13 lead.
Werntz hit a 3 from the right wing to start the third and Devin Taborn followed with a 3 to put Sidney ahead 21-15. The Red Devils scored the next eight points, though.
Durr hit a 3 to give Sidney a 26-24 lead with about two minutes left in the second, but the Red Devils scored the last nine points, the last of which came on a 3 by Mader with 39 seconds left.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.