Girls basketball: Freshmen help Sidney pull away late to beat Beavercreek in sectional final


Yellow Jackets will face state-ranked Bellbrook in district semifinal Monday

By Bryant Billing - [email protected]



Sidney junior guard Allie Stockton drives past Beavercreek’s Lilli Leopard during a Division I sectional final on Wednesday at Troy’s Trojan Activities Center. Stockton led the Yellow Jackets with 21 points, nine of which came in the fourth quarter.

Sidney junior guard Allie Stockton drives past Beavercreek’s Lilli Leopard during a Division I sectional final on Wednesday at Troy’s Trojan Activities Center. Stockton led the Yellow Jackets with 21 points, nine of which came in the fourth quarter.


Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Sidney's Kiara Hudgins drives past Beavercreek's Abbey Garcia at Troy on Wednesday.


Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Sidney freshman forward Kelis McNeal struggles for ball control with Beavercreek’s Lauren Hinders during a Division I sectional final on Wednesday at Troy’s Trojan Activities Center.


Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Sidney freshman guard Larkyn Vordemark drives past Beavercreek’s Riley Ryan during a Division I sectional final on Wednesday at Troy’s Trojan Activities Center. Vordemark played through back pain and scored 14 points to help the Yellow Jackets earn a 58-47 win.


Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Sidney's Allie Stockton shoots over Beavercreek's Liv Walther at Troy on Wednesday.


Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Sidney's Jordan Scully drives as Beavercreek's Liv Walther, left, and Lauren Hinders at Troy on Wednesday.


Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

TROY — While the rest of Sidney’s players spent pregame doing normal shooting drills, Sidney freshman guard Larkyn Vordemark spent the warmup period doing various stretches to try and help alleviate an aching lower back.

“I wanted to (play through it) for my teammates,” Vordemark said. “They’ve battled through stuff for me. I was just trying to show them the love I have for them by fighting through it. …It felt pretty bad, but as long as I battled through, that’s all that matters.”

That mentality is why a Sidney squad that played six players (four of which are freshmen) on Wednesday will be playing one of the state’s best Division I squads in a district semifinal this Monday.

The No. 5 seed Yellow Jackets pulled away in the second half and beat No. 7 Beavercreek 58-47 in a sectional final at Troy’s Trojan Activities Center to advance to a district semifinal.

Sidney (19-5) will face Bellbrook (22-2) in a D-I district semi at 7:30 p.m. on Monday in Troy. The Eagles beat Franklin 57-32 in the second sectional final on Wednesday in Troy to advance.

Sidney junior guard Allie Stockton, a three-year starter who surpassed 1,000 career points late last month, led the squad with 21 points on Wednesday. Sophomore point guard Kiara Hudgins added eight points and helped lead the team through Beavercreek’s pressing defense.

The play of the four freshmen was just as important in the win.

Guard Jordan Scully scored 15 points, 11 of which came in the first half to help the squad take a 29-21 halftime lead. Vordemark, who visibly winced throughout the game, scored 14 points, eight of which came in the fourth quarter to help the team pull away.

Starting forward Kelis McNeal and backup forward Kendall Dickman may not have scored, but their defensive efforts in the post and rebounding helped cause trouble for the Beavers (15-9) and prevented many second-chance looks.

The group had a successful run in middle school. They won the Miami Valley League as seventh graders and finished second last year.

Even they didn’t expect they’d immediately be such key pieces for Sidney’s varsity squad, which has made its deepest tournament run since 2016, when the program won two tournament games during a 24-win campaign.

“But we did it,” Scully said.

It wasn’t the plan for three freshmen to start this season, but they were forced into action due to lower than expected numbers, three-year starting point guard Lexee Brewer suffering an early-season injury and junior starting post player Regan Clark only being eligible for the first half of the year due to OHSAA transfer rules.

“We’ve been dealing with stuff all season long,” Sidney coach Jamal Foster said. “For them to come out and be ready to perform, it’s a testament to what kind of group we have here.

“… They work hard every week, day in and day out. This group deserves all the credit. The coaching staff, the assistants that come in, the crowd that supports us. It’s a good moment.”

Scully and Vordemark each hit shots to compliment Stockton and give the Yellow Jackets control throughout the game.

Beavercreek scored the game’s first basket, but Sidney scored the next seven points and led 16-11 at the end of the first quarter. Scully made two 3-pointers in the first quarter, and Stockton scored six points as well, four of which came on free throws.

The Beavers pulled within three points, but Sidney went on a 9-0 run to take a 29-17 lead. Stockton made two buckets during the run, and Scully made a jumper with about three minutes left to cap off the run. She also made a 3 during the run.

Scully attributed her hot first half to good passes from teammates.

“All the passes were there,” Scully said. “We worked really well passing the ball around and finding the open shot. We knocked them down.”

The Beavers held Sidney scoreless the rest of the half and pulled within 29-21. Neither squad scored much in the third quarter, but Scully made a late 3 to push the advantage to 35-24 heading into the fourth.

And then the Yellow Jackets pulled away quickly. They scored five points in the first 40 seconds of the fourth, the last of which came on a reverse layup by Stockton to push the gap to 40-24.

The Beavers pulled no closer than nine points the rest of the way. That’s thanks in part to Vordmark’s strong quarter, which included hitting 3-of-6 free-throw attempts. Hudgins scored six points in the quarter, including shooting 4-of-6 from the line.

Stockton scored 11 points in the quarter, including shooting 3-of-6 from the free-throw line.

“Allie wants to make plays,” Foster said. “Allie’s been here before, so the fact that she’s been here before, the ball just seems to get to her. Now, it’s seeming like she’s making all the plays she needs for us to win. Player of the year (in the Miami Valley League) didn’t go her way, and I think she wanted to come out and make a statement, and I think she played well.”

Foster attributed the squad’s tough defense for securing the win. The Beavers averaged 12.5 steals per game but were the ones who made the most turnovers on Wednesday. They unofficially finished with just under 20 turnovers.

“That’s what we do. We’re going to defend for four quarters,” Foster said. “We’re going to try to be the toughest team on the floor. We know we don’t have many (players), but we’ve never had many, and that’s all we need.

“… They wanted every rebound, they dove on the loose balls. Everything it takes to win the game. They wanted every extra little play, and they completed that. They battle.”

Foster also credited McNeal and Dickman’s effort in the post. McNeal started and played most of the game, while Dickman provided relief off the bench.

McNeal has seen her playing time drastically increase since Clark’s eligibility for the season ended.

“Compared to the first game I started to now, I’m definitely more comfortable,” McNeal said. “The chemistry’s definitely grown between us.”

Dickman played mostly on junior varsity, but she’s seen more varsity playing time in the second half of the season and provided key relief in a 52-37 win over Tecumseh on Saturday aside from Wednesday’s game.

“It’s been really stressful, but it’s been a good experience,” Dickman said of playing more during the tournament. “I’m starting to feel more comfortable.”

Staying comfortable against a formidable defense is something the squad will aim to do on Monday.

Bellbrook, which was ranked No. 8 in D-I in the final Associated Press state poll, has held opponents to an average of 37.1 points while scoring an average of 59.3. Six players average between seven and 15 points per game for the Eagles.

“We’ve got to keep our chemistry,” Scully said.

“And have really good practices,” Dickman added. “That’s what’s helped us play such good games.”

That, and a battling work ethic.

Sidney junior guard Allie Stockton drives past Beavercreek’s Lilli Leopard during a Division I sectional final on Wednesday at Troy’s Trojan Activities Center. Stockton led the Yellow Jackets with 21 points, nine of which came in the fourth quarter.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/02/web1_DSC_6080-1.jpgSidney junior guard Allie Stockton drives past Beavercreek’s Lilli Leopard during a Division I sectional final on Wednesday at Troy’s Trojan Activities Center. Stockton led the Yellow Jackets with 21 points, nine of which came in the fourth quarter. Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Sidney’s Kiara Hudgins drives past Beavercreek’s Abbey Garcia at Troy on Wednesday.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/02/web1_DSC_5932-1.jpgSidney’s Kiara Hudgins drives past Beavercreek’s Abbey Garcia at Troy on Wednesday.Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Sidney freshman forward Kelis McNeal struggles for ball control with Beavercreek’s Lauren Hinders during a Division I sectional final on Wednesday at Troy’s Trojan Activities Center.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/02/web1_DSC_5967-1.jpgSidney freshman forward Kelis McNeal struggles for ball control with Beavercreek’s Lauren Hinders during a Division I sectional final on Wednesday at Troy’s Trojan Activities Center. Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Sidney freshman guard Larkyn Vordemark drives past Beavercreek’s Riley Ryan during a Division I sectional final on Wednesday at Troy’s Trojan Activities Center. Vordemark played through back pain and scored 14 points to help the Yellow Jackets earn a 58-47 win.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/02/web1_DSC_6051-1.jpgSidney freshman guard Larkyn Vordemark drives past Beavercreek’s Riley Ryan during a Division I sectional final on Wednesday at Troy’s Trojan Activities Center. Vordemark played through back pain and scored 14 points to help the Yellow Jackets earn a 58-47 win. Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Sidney’s Allie Stockton shoots over Beavercreek’s Liv Walther at Troy on Wednesday.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/02/web1_DSC_6125-1.jpgSidney’s Allie Stockton shoots over Beavercreek’s Liv Walther at Troy on Wednesday.Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

Sidney’s Jordan Scully drives as Beavercreek’s Liv Walther, left, and Lauren Hinders at Troy on Wednesday.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/02/web1_SDN021822SidneyBeavercreek-1.jpgSidney’s Jordan Scully drives as Beavercreek’s Liv Walther, left, and Lauren Hinders at Troy on Wednesday.Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News
Yellow Jackets will face state-ranked Bellbrook in district semifinal Monday

By Bryant Billing

[email protected]

Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.

Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.