SIDNEY — Sidney’s boys basketball team was at full strength for the first time this season on Monday and looked like it.
Unfortunately for the Yellow Jackets, it will be the last time for at least two weeks they’ll be at full strength.
Sidney took control early and cruised to a 76-27 victory over Greenville in a Miami Valley League game on Monday night.
The school suspended the program’s freshman, junior varsity and varsity seasons on Tuesday morning due to COVID-19 exposure among players and coaches.
Three Sidney varsity games have been postponed to dates to be determined as a result, including MVL contests with Xenia and Troy, which were scheduled for Wednesday and Friday, respectively.
Monday was the first game Sidney had all of its anticipated starters in the lineup. Junior guard Devin Taborn and junior forward Jaden Swiger missed the team’s first two games due to being quarantined for COVID-19 exposure. They had just returned to the court a day before the squad’s loss at Vandalia-Butler last Friday and didn’t start.
They made their presence felt from the start on Monday. Swiger and senior forward Avante Martin largely shut down the post and prevented Greenville from scoring inside and grabbed up most rebounds. Taborn helped spark the Yellow Jackets’ high-scoring night, as he scored 20 of his game-high 22 points in the first half.
“It feels good,” Taborn said after Monday’s performance. “It’s always good to be back with the team. We had a rough start the last game, but we came back strong this game.”
The Yellow Jackets (2-2, 2-2 MVL Valley) lost 57-51 at Butler on Friday after giving up a 10-0 run in the first quarter. Sidney coach John Willoughby was disappointed with the team’s start against Butler and against Piqua but was pleased with Monday’s start.
The Green Wave scored the game’s first basket on Monday, but Sidney scored the next 17 points and led 23-7 by the end of the first quarter.
Though Greenville is winless, the squad had played Fairborn to a 42-37 loss and Butler to a 46-34 loss in its two games prior to Monday.
“Greenville has been playing teams tough, so coming into this game, I was thinking we may have to battle all the way,” Willoughby said. “I’m really happy with how we played. I’m happy with how we came out and got that early lead. We’ve been trying like the dickens to play better the first five minutes of the game. It was nice to be able to play ahead.”
Taborn scored 11 points in the second quarter to help lead a 24-7 scoring advantage that gave the team a 47-14 halftime lead.
It was a career high for Taborn, who is the team’s leading returning scorer from last season. He scored seven points in limited playing time against Butler on Friday.
“This is more of how we want to do it, and for me to get everybody else involved, too,” Taborn said.
Taborn averaged 8.4 points per game last year. The most he scored in a game last season was 16 points.
“Devin can score, and that’s what we’ve been missing,” Willoughby said. “I wanted to get him into the lineup early to try and get our scoring going. Our defense has been pretty sound; we just need some more scoring. We shot the ball well today, both from the perimeter and inside.
“He and Jaden have only had one or two practices and two games since they’ve been back. They both played really well.”
With Taborn and Swiger back at full strength, Sidney’s defensive pressure was increased as well. The team played a full-court press for much of the first half and forced Greenville into over 10 turnovers in each half.
“We thought our guards could defend them pretty well,” Willoughby said. “We thought if we could harass the ball handlers and take away their first entry pass to the wing, they would have trouble.”
Sidney focused on working the ball on offense more in the second half and had great results, as all its bench players scored. Ryan Schloss scored five points while Deegan Meyer and Darrius Basil each scored four.
“I thought we passed the ball well,” Willoughby said. “There weren’t too many times, if any, that somebody just tried to hold the ball and go 1-on-5. I thought we did a good job moving the ball and took advantage of the defensive rotation.
“Sometimes we get a little impatient and have players that want to do it all without making the defense move. I don’t have a problem with guys making moves, but we try to coach them to get the defense moving, then attack, instead of just trying to attack when the defense is set.”
Sidney outscored the Green Wave 18-7 in the third quarter and 11-7 in the fourth.
Cam Vordemark added 15 points for the Yellow Jackets while Swiger finished with seven. Isaiah Huggins scored six and Martin and Cedric Johnson each scored five.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.