PIQUA — Sidney couldn’t keep up with Piqua at half strength when the teams played in their first Miami Valley League matchup.
The Yellow Jackets showed Wednesday at Garbry Gymnasium they’re getting closer to full strength. Sidney took control in the second quarter and led by double digits almost all of the second half in a 61-50 victory over the Indians.
It was a far better performance than a 49-41 loss to the Indians on Dec. 4 in which Sidney was without several players due to COVID-19 contact tracing, including two starters. One of those starters was junior guard Devin Taborn, who scored 26 points on Wednesday.
“He’s our offensive buster,” Sidney coach John Willoughby said. “He can do a lot of things and it’s good to see him get things going. It was a good night for him.
“I thought we did some good things offensively. We kind of executed some of our special plays, which was nice. You practice those all the time and you hope those pay off in games. We have a tendency to go on our own in games, but we executed well tonight. I think we shared the ball well. I thought defensively we were pretty spot-on.”
Piqua’s size advantage led to many difficulties for Sidney in the post in the December matchup. The Yellow Jackets had no such problems on Wednesday, as Taborn, Cam Vordemark and Cedric Johnson were able to score points on drives and forwards Avante Martin and Jaden Swiger were able to add a few baskets in the post and rebound well.
Vordemark finished with 10 points while Johnson added eight and Martin finished with six.
It’s the third victory in the last four games for Sidney (5-3), which didn’t play for three weeks in the last half of December due to a COVID-19 outbreak. The squad’s lone loss since returning to the court was a 71-68 defeat by undefeated Tippecanoe on Saturday.
“In the Tipp game we showed how good we can play, and we want to build on that,” Willoughby said. “We’re still not at our best right now but we’re trying to get there slowly. It’s going to take some time, but we’re going to get there.
“This was a positive night for us where we had a lot of guys do a lot of things for us. Devin got us started offensively, Avante dominated the boards, Cedric controlled (Piqua’s Dre’sean) Roberts.”
Roberts, a sophomore guard, scored 18 points and had five steals and five rebounds in December’s matchup.
He was less of a force on Wednesday. He scored six points in the first half and was held to four in the second half until he scored five uncontested points in the last minute.
“When you play tough defense and force them to rebound, you’re going to have a good night most of the time,” Willoughby said. “I’m really happy with our defensive effort.”
Roberts hit an early 3 during a 9-0 stretch in the first quarter that gave the Indians a six-point lead. The Yellow Jackets finished the quarter with a 10-3 run to take a 13-12 lead into the second quarter. Taborn and Johnson hit 3s during the run and Swiger and Vordemark added baskets in the post.
Sidney used a 14-13 scoring advantage in the second to push its lead to 27-25 by halftime and sealed the win with a dominating third quarter.
Sidney scored the first nine points of the third and finished with a 13-2 advantage overall to take a 40-27 lead into the fourth. The Yellow Jackets pushed their lead to as many as 19 points before Piqua made several baskets in the final minute to cut the final margin to 11.
Garrett Schrubb added 14 points for the Indians (3-6) while Jerell Lewis scored 10.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.