SIDNEY — The new-look Sidney Yellow Jackets didn’t have a strong debut on Monday. Their second performance went better on Wednesday.
Sidney dominated from the start and beat Greenville in running-clock fashion with a 59-25 victory. It was a far different performance from Monday, when the squad lost 59-31 at New Madison Tri-Village, which was ranked No. 5 in Div. IV in the inaugural state poll.
Monday was Sidney’s first game without 6-foot-0 Regan Clark, who played her final game of the season last Wednesday against Tippecanoe. Clark, a junior forward, transferred from Jackson Center over the summer; OHSAA rules limit transfers to playing the first half of a season.
The Yellow Jackets (10-3, 9-1 Miami Valley League Valley Division) couldn’t stop Tri-Village’s pair of Meghan Downing (6-2) and Morgan Hunt (5-11), who combined for 19 points, 23 rebounds and 11 blocked shots.
Without Clark, Sidney freshman forward Kelis McNeal (5-10) is the squad’s leader in the post.
“She comes in, practices hard and is developing her skills,” Foster said. “That was a tall task (on Monday), no pun intended. But she fought hard. Kelis is going to be big for us down the stretch. She’s very versatile, and as she comes into her own and becomes more confident, she’ll be great for the next three years.”
The Yellow Jackets’ starting lineup now consists of three freshmen, one sophomore and junior guard Allie Stockton.
Though Foster said the players knew things had changed, Monday was as further evidence roles are different.
“Different doesn’t necessarily mean bad,” Foster said. “That’s what we’re trying to teach in the locker room. We’re really, really young; younger than we’ve been even the last couple of years. But we’re still talented, and they still play hard.
“… We knew Tri-Village was a great team, and we were going to be in for a fight since we were (understaffed) because we didn’t have all of our players. We just wanted to go in there and compete, come back and see what we could do Wednesday.
“The mentality is to continue to play and finish the season, and we’ll be fine.”
Foster said Stockton, a three-year starter who is closing in on 900 career points, is expected to be the leader even moreso than early this season. She finished with 19 points on Wednesday.
“Being able to put people together and keep them together, she’s got to do it all,” Foster said. “Keep the morale up when mistakes happen, and also understand when she’s going through her frustrations, it’s going to be all right.
“To look around and say, ‘Okay, I’ve been here, and these girls haven’t,’ is key. For her to take over as the leader on the court makes my job easier.”
While Sidney may be young, its talent was on display on Wednesday.
Freshman guard Jordyn Scully scored 11 of her game-high 21 points in the first half to help the squad take a 33-13 halftime lead, while sophomore point guard Kiara Hudgins scored six of her eight points.
Greenville scored the game’s opening basket, but the Yellow Jackets scored the next 12 points. After Greenville cut it to 12-4, Sidney scored the last four points of the first quarter and led by double digits the rest of the way.
Scully led Sidney with 11 points on Monday at Tri-Village. She has reached double digits in eight games and has scored 144 points this season.
“Jordan Scully is different. Her work ethic is different. Her mentality is different. Her ability to extend the floor shooting the ball is different,” Foster said. “She can do pretty much anything offensively. As she gets stronger and more confident, she’s going to be really good for the next few years.
“I think she’s just figuring out now how good she can be, and she’s just scratching the surface. I’m excited for her.”
Freshman guard Larkyn Vordemark scored eight points on Monday; she has reached double digits five times and has scored 106 points this season.
Sidney was able to work in players off the bench on Wednesday. Freshman forward Kendall Dickman played in three quarters, while senior guard Paige Frew and sophomore Lauren Conley each played in two.
“Kendall Dickman has played JV all year long, and she’s going to get some backup minutes and help spell some of those girls who play a lot for us, because we’re not very deep,” Foster said. “She brings post presence and defense.
“She’ll be valuable for us down the stretch. Just getting her confident and letting her know that she’ll be okay is the biggest thing going on with her.”
Sidney is scheduled to travel to Fairborn on Saturday afternoon for an MVL Valley Division game, then host archrival Piqua this Wednesday in an MVL crossover game.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.