XENIA — Nearly a month after its first game, Sidney’s girls basketball team has yet to play a game with its full roster. The squad is working towards its goal of a second consecutive Miami Valley League Valley Division championship anyway.
Sidney posted its second straight lopsided win by outscoring Xenia by 19 points in the fourth quarter to run away to a 55-27 MVL Valley Division victory on Wednesday. The Yellow Jackets (4-2, 3-2 MVL) beat archrival Piqua 65-32 on Monday.
“This wasn’t ideally the prettiest win,” Sidney coach Jamal Foster said. “But we found out a way to get back to who we are towards the end of the game and finished out strong. Sometimes you’ve just got to find a way to win, and hopefully as this group goes on, we’re going to figure out how to do that more.”
Several Sidney players have missed time in different spans due to COVID-19 exposure and injuries. The Yellow Jackets were without starting senior guard Kelsey Kizer and junior guard Peyton Wiley on Monday among others.
“This season is really a grind,” Foster said. “This pandemic is different for everybody. We’re playing a lot of games during the week and have a lot of days and a lot of basketball strung together. We’re just focused on being the best team we can be towards the end of the year.
“… We’re getting a lot of girls experience now that’s going to be vital towards the end of the year. We’ve had a lot of girls play a lot of minutes up-and-down the court. I’m proud of how resilient this group has been. For them to be able to perform when their number is called can only make us better.”
Sidney super sophomore Allie Stockton led the squad with 24 points, 13 of which came in the second half. Stockton, who scored a career-high 31 points against Piqua on Monday, was limited in playing time during the first half due to foul trouble.
“I just started talking more on D after that, calling help if I got beat,” Stockton said. “Instead of just trying to trail behind, I called some help so they could take over for me.”
Stockton and fellow sophomore guard Lexee Brewer were big reasons why the program improved from a winless campaign in 2018-19 to a 15-8 campaign last season.
They both stuffed the stat sheet on Wednesday. Stockton, who averages 18.3 points per game, brought down nine rebounds and had four blocks and two steals and two assists. Brewer scored 10 points and had eight assists, six rebounds and four steals.
Senior forward Samantha Reynolds added six points and had a team-high 10 rebounds and freshman guard Kiara Hudgins scored six points.
The shorthanded Yellow Jackets had a two-game winning streak stopped last Friday when Vandalia-Butler won an MVL showdown on a last-second shot. Stockton said the team wanted a better performance on Monday against Piqua and had one.
“That was nice,” Stockton said. “I think that was a big confidence booster for a lot of us and will really help us with this season.
“… I feel we’re pretty good. As the season goes on and we get more pieces in, I feel like we’re going to be really good.”
It’ll be a busy week for Sidney. The squad was scheduled to host Troy on Friday night and is scheduled to host Fairborn and West Carrollton on Monday and Wednesday, respectively.
“Not just physically, but mentally, this will be a good test,” Foster said. “… We’re looking at the schedule and taking it one day at a time. We’re fully realizing that we’re trying to put a body of work together to make us the team we want to be.”
While Kizer and Wiley haven’t played the last three games, Foster said the squad has been boosted by the returns of senior forward MaKayla Hurey and junior forward Cassidy Truesdale in recent games. Hurey scored three points and had six rebounds on Wednesday and Truesdale scored two points and had two rebounds.
“They’re coming in and filling in and doing that glue role, playing that role of getting on the ground and doing the things that people don’t get credit for on the stat sheet,” Foster said. “They’ve been doing that well. They’re some of our taller girls and they try to take on some of those post players. They’re coming. We expect more from them as the season goes on, and I think they’re going to do just that.”
Sidney led 10-6 at the end of the first quarter but the Buccaneers opened the second on an 8-2 run, which Reaghan Wakefield capped off with a basket. Stockton hit two free throws to tie it, then Brewer made a basket with about 3:30 left to give Sidney the lead. The Yellow Jackets led the rest of the way.
Sidney increased its lead to 23-15 by halftime. Reynolds hit a basket with about four minutes left in the third to give the squad a 33-17 lead, but it didn’t score again for the rest of the quarter.
Xenia pulled within 33-24 by the end of the third, but the Yellow Jackets quickly pulled away by opening the fourth with a 10-2 run in the first three minutes.
“Coach told us that if we didn’t want to get into a dogfight, we needed to pull away,” Stockton said. “We were supposed to pull it out in the third quarter, but we pulled it out in the fourth with some up-and-down and tiring them out.”
MVL schools’ winter sports squads are playing only league opponents, just like the league handled fall sports. Basketball teams are permitted to play 22 regular-season games. While the MVL normally plays an 18-game schedule, additional games are being added with the hopes teams will reach 22 games.
Piqua was the first additional opponent added by Sidney. The Yellow Jackets beat the Indians 52-41 in a regularly-scheduled matchup on Dec. 4 in Piqua before Monday’s added game. The teams are scheduled to meet in Sidney on Jan. 13.
The Yellow Jackets shot 21 for 45 (46.7 percent) on Wednesday and outrebounded the Buccaneers 42-30.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.