CLAYTON — Sidney ran its record to 10-1 overall by narrowly escaping Northmont with a 72-68 victory Tuesday night.
Sitting atop the American North division in Greater Western Ohio Conference with a 9-1 mark entering Tuesday’s game, the Yellow Jackets opened the game with a 10-0 run that coach John Willoughby thinks might have made his team overconfident against the Thunderbolts, who are in last place in the National West.
“I thought we got off to a great start and that’s the way it should have been the whole game, but we kind of said, ‘OK, we showed them how good we are’ here on the 10-0 run and we started doing things like not rebounding and missed like four consecutive threes that let them back in,” Willoughby said. “We get out of character sometimes when we build that early lead just to show what we can do.”
Northmont countered by going on a 16-2 run to lead 16-12 after the first quarter and went on to hold a 24-23 advantage at halftime. Darren Taborn scored seven in the third quarter including a trey, Andre Gordon had 10 and Trey Werntz hit a 3-pointer to help the Yellow Jackets take a 45-41 lead entering the final period.
Northmont limited Gordon, the conference’s 4th leading scorer averaging 23.5 points per game, to only two points the entire first half. He scored 20 in the second half by going 6-for-6 from the free throw line in both of the final two quarters. Prophet Johnson led the Thunderbolts with 16 points and Justin Golson had 13.
The Thunderbolts took a 53-51 lead when Danny Lewis came up with a steal and Patrick Ivory scored a dunk. Taborn fouled Jordan Smith who sank one of two free throws and Prophet Johnson scored to boost Northmont’s lead to 56-52. Sidney tied the game at 59 on a basket by Keith Lee but Isaiah Baldwin buried a 3-pointer from the left corner to put the Bolts back on top 62-59.
Gordon drew a foul and converted both shots and after a Northmont turnover Josiah Hudgins drew a foul and buried both free throws to put the Yellow Jackets on top 63-62. Danny Lewis drew a foul from Jace Conrad and converted both shots to put the Bolts up by one. Both teams traded baskets and Gordon drew a foul from Baldwin and sank both free throws to put Sidney up 67-66 with 1:27 left. At that point both teams had 10 fouls each in the second half.
When play resumed Patrick Ivory drove the lane and got called for a player control foul. On the change of possession Lathan Jones scored, drew a foul and sank the bonus shot to put Sidney up 70-66.
Willoughby felt that foul was key to his team’s success.
“We tried to take three or four charges before we finally got one,” he said. “It was probably better that we were in a little foul trouble because we did try to take charges instead of trying to swat everything. I thought the last couple of defensive possessions is the way we should play defense and rebound.”
Jordan Smith scored on a baseline drive to cut the Sidney lead to a basket with 28 seconds left. After a Northmont timeout Sidney worked the ball around before Gordon drove inside past the glass and made an underhand shot over his head that went in to make the final tally 72-68 in favor of the Yellow Jackets.
Based on both teams records Willoughby was asked if the game was tougher than expected.
“It is so hard to go by the records anymore,” he said. “Northmont is athletic and they just killed us on the boards, so if we don’t have the effort that they showed tonight you can throw the records out of the window. It was probably tougher than it should have been, but give credit to Northmont.”
The Thunderbolts out-rebounded Sidney 39-21.
Northmont Coach Shane Kincer was extremely happy with how tough his team played against one of the GWOC’s top teams.
“I’m ecstatic. We asked all week for a maximum effort and to play as hard we could play and I felt like every sub we made, every player we put on the floor played with all-out effort,” Kincer said. “It just comes down to the end. We held Andre Gordon to two points in the first half. He got 20 in the second half by going 12 for 12 at the foul line. It was one possession game back and forth the whole second half and we just fell a little short. Sidney is one of the top two teams in Dayton and we just went toe-to-toe with them. If you play that way results will come your way soon. We didn’t back down and played hard. I commend Justin Golson and Isaiah Baldwin. They were given the task to slow Gordon down and they held him to two points in the first half. Gordon is going to Virginia Tech for a reason. He is a good ball player.”
Northmont has the rest of the week off and won’t play again until Tuesday at Chaminade-Julienne, at Centerville on Friday, Jan. 25 and at Trotwood-Madison on Saturday, Jan. 26.
SIDN 12 23 45 72 – 72
NMT 16 24 41 68 – 68
Sidney: Ratez Roberts 5-2-12, Jace Conrad 1-0-3, Darren Taborn 3-2-10, Keith Lee 3-0-6, Lathan Jones 2-1-5, Andre Gordon 5-12-22, Josiah Hudgins 2-4-8, Trey Werntz 2-0-6. Totals: 23-21-72.
Northmont: Miles Johnson 1-0-3, Danny Lewis 2-2-7, Di’talian Rayford 1-0-2, Patrick Ivory 3-3-9, Justin Golson 5-3-13, Isaiah Baldwin 1-0-3, Jordan Smith 3-3-9, Ifeanyi Nwanoro 2-0-4, Corey Gay 1-0-2, Prophet Johnson 4-8-16. Totals: 23-19-68.
3-point goals: Sidney 5 (Taborn 2, Werntz 2, Conrad); Northmont (M. Johnson, Lewis, Baldwin).
Records: Sidney 10-1, Northmont 4-8.
JV Score: Sidney 52 Northmont 41.