SIDNEY — Sidney played for the first time in over three weeks on Wednesday and faced the same opponent it did in its last game. And though Wednesday’s Miami Valley League game against Greenville went much differently than Dec. 14’s matchup, the result was similar: a double-digit victory.
Sidney pulled away in the fourth quarter to earn a 58-44 victory over the Green Wave in its first game since a COVID-19 outbreak forced a two-week shutdown.
The Yellow Jackets (3-2, 2-2 MVL Valley Division) were supposed to return to the court last Wednesday against Tippecanoe, but that game was postponed due to coronavirus exposure among Red Devils players.
“It’s hard to be off two weeks and not play a game for three weeks,” Sidney coach John Willoughby said. “It’s tough to get back into the right frame of mind. This was good for us. We needed to get this game in. Now we’re on a roll here in January where we’re playing quite a bit. We needed to get back in and get a tune-up and get ready for these games.”
Sidney crushed Greenville 76-27 on Dec. 14. That game was the first time this season Sidney had all its players available to play at the same time, and hot shooting allowed the squad to pull away by the end of the first quarter.
The Yellow Jackets shot much worse against a physical Green Wave squad on Wednesday. Sidney shot 21 for 53 (39.6 percent) percent from the floor after having shot 29 for 55 (52.7 percent) in the first matchup.
The biggest difference was 3-point shooting. Sidney made 11-of-28 (39.3 percent) of 3-pointers in the first matchup and hit 1-of-17 (5.9 percent) on Wednesday.
“We just didn’t hit much on the perimeter and couldn’t get going,” Willoughby said. “We just hit some jumpers that first game.”
Greenville (0-6, 0-5 MVL Miami) stepped up its physicality on defense and wasn’t afraid to foul on Wednesday. The squad committed 19 fouls, 14 of which came in the second half.
After a slow third quarter in which the teams combined for 17 fouls, Sidney capitalized on turnovers in the fourth quarter and made several transition baskets to pull away. The Yellow Jackets entered the fourth with a 35-31 lead but finished with a 23-13 scoring edge.
Darrius Basil came off the bench and helped Sidney pull away in the fourth. He scored five of his seven points and also had several offensive rebounds to keep possessions alive.
Basil, a senior guard, finished with seven rebounds, five steals and two assists.
“I’m real happy with the way he came in at the beginning of the fourth quarter or end of the third and gave us a lift,” Willoughby said. “He just went after it. That’s all we ask our kids to do, and not be selfish about it. He doesn’t have a selfish bone in his body. He just went out and played, and that lifted us.”
Senior forward Avante Marin led Sidney with 15 points and had 17 rebounds, five assists and three steals. Jaden Swiger scored 15 points and had four rebounds and Cedric Johnson scored 12 points and had six steals.
The Yellow Jackets finished with 19 team steals.
“I thought we were all right defensively, but we were a little bit behind at times,” Willoughby said. “… We weren’t taking away reverse passes and we let them get some baskets. They had a good plan of attack and gave us a challenge.”
Sidney built an 8-4 lead in the first quarter but the Green Wave pulled within 10-8 by the end of the quarter.
The Yellow Jackets started the fourth quarter with an 11-5 run, which Swiger capped off with a free throw with 2:34 left to give Sidney a 21-13 lead. But Greenville scored the last seven points of the quarter, including a layup after a turnover by DJ Zimmer in the final minute.
Sidney made three field goals in the third quarter and didn’t get many shots off as Greenville racked up nine fouls. The Yellow Jackets hit 8-of-12 free throws in the quarter to help power a 14-11 scoring advantage that pushed the lead to four points heading into the fourth.
Zimmer led Greenville with 28 points, 15 of which came in the second half.
Sidney is scheduled to travel to Fairborn (1-5) on Friday for an MVL Valley Division contest and host Tippecanoe (7-0) on Saturday afternoon.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.