WAPAKONETA — Sidney looked like it was going to be able to overcome a slow start and escape Wapakoneta with a win on Saturday.
But the Yellow Jackets couldn’t hit a basket in the last six minutes of the game, and the Redskins battled back from a two-point deficit to earn a 54-40 victory in a nonconference game.
Andre Gordon hit back-to-back baskets for Sidney to give the Yellow Jackets a 40-38 lead with about six minutes left. Wapakoneta finished the game on a 16-0 run, though, to run away with the win.
Gage Schenk hit a 3-pointer with 5:47 left to start the run and give Wapakoneta a 41-40 lead, then Reed Miracle then added a 3 to put the Redskins up by four points with four minutes left. Schenk and post player Adam Scott added key baskets down the stretch to help Wapakoneta put the game away.
The Redskins made nine 3’s in the game, and Scott finished 16 points, all on eight baskets in the paint.
Sidney coach John Willougby said he was disappointed with Sidney’s defensive effort. He said though Sidney played on Friday night and Wapakoneta did not, it shouldn’t have affected the Yellow Jackets’ speed.
“They’re high school players, they should be able to play two games in a row,” Willoughby said. “It’s ridiculous. I don’t know what it is, man. …We knew they were a good 3-point shooting team, and we did a good job defending the 3 last night (against Tippecanoe), but for some reason tonight, we couldn’t do it.
“It’s just a mindset. When you think you’re tired, you don’t do what you’re supposed to be doing. That’s the excuse they have. A little disappointed.”
Sidney made 17-of-52 shot attempts, including 4-of-23 3-point attempts. The Yellow Jackets had five offensive rebounds.
“Again, when you’re tired, you just want to settle for the 3,” Willoughby said. “We could score inside against them all day if we wanted to, if we had that mindset, but we had guys that just want to stand around on the perimeter with their hand up.”
Gordon hit a 3 at the first quarter buzzer to cut Wapakoneta’s lead to 13-12. The Redskins built a 27-20 halftime lead, in part thanks to four 3-pointers in the third quarter.
Gordon hit back-to-back baskets to give Sidney a 29-28 lead in the third quarter. The Jackets led by as many as four points until their cold streak to end the game.
Gordon led Sidney with 27 points, and no other player scored more than four.
“We didn’t want to put all our effort into stopping him,” Wapakoneta coach Doug Davis said of Gordon. “You’ve got two different ways you can do it, put a lot of effort into stopping him or just make sure the other players don’t beat you, and we went with trying to not let the other players beat us. We did a pretty good job until the third quarter.”
Schenk finished with 14 for Wapakoneta, while Nick Schoonever scored 10.
Willoughby said Sidney has a lot of work to do before its home opener against Troy (2-0) on Tuesday.
“It’s nothing new,” Willougbhy said. “It’s all the same from last year. They’ve learned it before. They know it starts with their mental preparation and their defense. We didn’t have either one tonight. A lack of energy, lack of little desire. If you were at the game last night, you could see it. You could just feel it.”
Contact Bryant Billing at (937) 538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter.