SIDNEY — After struggling to shoot in its last two games, Sidney found a rhythm early on Friday against Fairborn in a Greater Western Ohio Conference crossover game.
The Yellow Jackets made seven 3-pointers in the first half to take a 17-point lead and ran away in the second half to close out a 65-44 win.
The win broke a two-game losing streak for the Yellow Jackets (8-5) and improved their GWOC American North Division record to 6-2. Fairborn fell to 3-10 overall and 2-4 in the American South.
Sidney coach John Willoughby said the key to the offensive improvement was playing better defensively.
“I believe good defense leads to easier baskets and good flow on the offensive end,” Willoughby said. “We saw those two things tonight. …When we stop people and get the rebound and go, we’re pretty good.”
Sidney built a 32-12 halftime lead thanks to baskets by Andre Gordon and Josiah Hudgins.
Gordon scored 14 points in the first half, including 12 in the first quarter. Hudgins came off the bench and hit four consecutive 3-pointers (the last two with the help of the backboard) in the second quarter to help turn a 10-point Sidney lead into a 32-12 lead.
Fairborn started the third quarter on an 9-6 run, but Sidney went on a 22-6 run over the next eight minutes to put the game away. Ratez Roberts capped off the run with a big two-handed dunk with 4:30 left in the fourth.
“Teams are going to make a run,” Willoughby said. “Every team makes a run. The better teams stop it at some point, and then turn it around and make the run of their own. Tonight, we did that. I thought that was pretty good. Had a little bit of a ‘Come on guys, here we go,’ moment where we were messing around and letting them back in it. But we did a pretty good job there to cut that off.”
Gordon led Sidney with 20 points, while Hudgins finished with 18 and Roberts added nine. Shaunn Monroe led the Skyhawks with 18 points.
Wes Watts hit a basket to give Fairborn a 5-4 lead with 5:15 left in the first quarter, but Gordon scored two baskets over the next 1:15 to put Sidney ahead. Gordon made a jumper with 4:46 left and a 3-pointer from the right wing with 4:04 left to give Sidney a 9-5 lead.
Gordon added two more baskets before the end of first to help Sidney build a 16-10 lead and scored the opening basket of the second to put the Yellow Jackets up by eight. Ratez Roberts then followed with a 3-pointer from the right wing with 6:48 left, and Josiah Hudgins made four 3-pointers in the next three minutes to boost Sidney’s lead to 32-10.
Sidney plays at Lehman Catholic on Saturday and will host Stebbins on Tuesday in GWOC crossover action. The Yellow Jackets will play their first GWOC American North opponent in over a month next Friday when they host Tippecanoe.
Willoughby said the team should be in good shape during the stretch if it plays with the same defensive energy as Friday.
“I think our defense had a lot more energy tonight,” Willoughby said. “That was the focus the last few days in practice. We said, ‘We need more energy, let’s celebrate the good plays on defense, get each other going defensively.’ I think we did a pretty good job of that tonight.”
The loss was Fairborn’s fourth in its last five games. The Skyhawks will host Piqua on Tuesday in a GWOC crossover game.
Contact Bryant Billing at (937) 538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter.