By Bryant Billing
Sidney Daily News
and Josh Brown
Troy Daily News
SIDNEY — Seeking its first 10-win season since the 2011-12 campaign, the Troy boys basketball team entered its final six games of the season having won 2 of its last three and needing four more victories.
Friday night, the Trojans ran into Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division co-leader Sidney.
And, much like the first meeting between the teams this season, the Yellow Jackets (14-3, 10-2 GWOC American North) built a big early lead and held off a second-half rally by Troy, with the Trojans falling 56-48 Friday night at Sidney to drop to 6-11 on the season and 5-7 in the division.
“We just didn’t take many good shots early and they made some good shots, and that’s kind of been our downfall,” Troy coach Paul Bremigan said. “We’re not patient enough to take good shoots. When that happens, you play a lot of defense. We played a lot of defense tonight, and the time of possession wasn’t in our favor.
“We’ve got to make people defend. I thought we did that in the second, third and fourth quarter.”
The Yellow Jackets looked ready to go from the start on Friday and scored the game’s first 12 points, and Troy couldn’t overcome the big early deficit. The Trojans did prevent Sidney from running away with it, though, and twice pulled within six points in the second half. A 9-0 run by Sidney midway through the fourth quarter iced the victory.
Sidney had a 41-32 lead at the end of the third quarter and scored the first basket of the fourth, but Caillou Monroe made a 3 with 6:52 left and Chris Demeo made a putback 20 seconds later to pull the Trojans within six points again at 43-37.
Troy couldn’t pull any closer, though. Andre Gordon made a basket with 6:11 left, then Darren Taborn made a layup with 5:54 left to stretch the lead back out to 10 points. Gordon made another basket and split a pair of free throws, then Taborn made a basket with 3:17 left to cap off the 9-0 run and put Sidney up 52-37.
Gordon, a Virginia Tech commit, led Sidney with 25 points. Taborn finished with 14 and Ratez Roberts added six points and had 10 rebounds unofficially.
Shaeden Olden led Troy with 15 points while Monroe finished with 12.
“(Monroe) does a nice job for us, and Shaeden Olden played a good game and does a nice job for us whenever we need scoring,” Bremigan said. “We just needed to get some help tonight, and we didn’t shoot it real well, for the most part.”
Troy missed its first nine shots on Friday, and Sidney built a 12-0 lead by the midpoint of the first quarter as a result. The Trojans scored the next six points, though — including two baskets by Monroe — to cut the deficit to 12-6 by the end of the quarter.
Gordon broke Sidney’s over four-minute scoreless streak with a basket with 7:26 left in the second, and the Yellow Jackets went on to take a 20-10 lead by the 5:15 mark. Troy scored the next five points, though, and came within 20-15 after a bank-shot 3 by Monroe with 4:04 left.
The Yellow Jackets controlled the rest of the quarter. Gordon scored two consecutive baskets, then Roberts made a short jumper and a two-handed dunk to boost the lead to 28-15 with 1:20 left, and the Trojans trailed 28-17 at halftime.
Troy returns home Feb. 8 to take on the GWOC American North’s other co-leader, 16-2 Butler.
COVINGTON — Bethel’s Kendal James has shown flashes of greatness this season.
Friday night against rival Covington, the senior’s talents were on full display as he scored a career-high 32 points to lead the Bees (10-8, 6-4 Cross County Conference) to a 83-67 victory over the Buccaneers on the road.
With Covington (3-12, 3-5 CCC) leading 15-6 in the first quarter, James took over, drilling three straight 3-pointers to help Bethel take control and lead 25-19 after the first. The Bees retained the lead from there, pulling ahead 45-35 at halftime and 68-53 after three quarters.
“We struggled the first couple minutes or so, but we amped up the pressure, and I thought we did a good job with our energy,” Bethel coach Brett Kopp said. “We weren’t very consistent with it, but when we get after teams, we’re not to bad. And also, we hit some shots. We hit 11 3s and were 50 percent from 3-point in the first half — when you do things like that, you’re going to be successful.”
And when James wasn’t scoring, he was setting up others to score as he finished off a double-double with 11 assists on the night. Tompson Bean hit four 3s and scored 14 points, Ethan Rimkus added 11 points and Jared Evans scored 10 points to give the Bees four players in double figures.
“The Kendal we saw tonight was what was expected. He was just dominant,” Kopp said. “He had 11 assists to go with 32 points — that’s unheard of, really. He made the right decision 95 percent of the time, and the other kids took advantage of it. He was pretty special tonight.”
The Buccs had three players in double figures on the night, with Kleyton Maschino leading the way with 23 points. Andrew Cates added 11 and Gray Harshbarger scored 10.
Bethel travels to Fort Loramie Tuesday, while Covington travels to Ansonia on Tuesday after Saturday night’s game against Northwestern.
Troy Christian 56,
Yellow Springs 41
TROY — A big second half propelled Troy Christian past Yellow Springs in a Metro Buckeye Conference matchup Friday night, with the Eagles outscoring the Bulldogs 41-22 after the break to claim a 56-41 victory to keep pace with league-leading Legacy Christian.
Troy Christian (12-5, 8-2 MBC) trailed 10-8 after the first quarter and 19-15 at halftime, but the Eagles outscored Yellow Springs (3-13, 2-9 MBC) 20-10 in the third to take a 35-29 lead and won the fourth quarter 21-12 to close it out.
“We’re playing like a yo-yo right now. Sometimes we’re up, sometimes we’re down — and we were down in the first half,” Troy Christian coach Ray Zawadzki said. “We were 6 for 28 from the field and 1 for 10 from 3-point range in the first half. We were struggling — but then we erupted for 41 in the second half, went 8 for 14 from 3 and 12 for 24 from the field in the second.”
Connor Peters was the only Eagle in double figures with 11 points and Connor Case added nine points off the bench as every Troy Christian player that got into the game scored. And the Eagle defense held Andrew Clark, the MBC’s leading scorer, to single digits on the night.
“I was proud of how the kids responded to the halftime speech. They came out after halftime and really seemed focused and determined and played with a sense of urgency,” Zawadzki said. “If we can continue to do that, we’ll be in pretty good shape.”
The Eagles remain one game behind Legacy Christian in the MBC standings — the Knights defeated Emmanuel Christian Friday night to improve to 10-1 in the conference. Troy Christian travels to Miami Valley Tuesday before its rematch at Legacy Christian on Feb. 8.
Other scores: Milton-Union at Preble Shawnee ppd. Ansonia at Miami East ppd. to Feb. 9. Newton at Tri-County North ppd. Lehman (7-8) 53, Bradford (0-15) 31.
• Girls Basketball
GREENVILLE — At the start of Saturday’s play, there was still a mathematical chance someone else could share the Tippecanoe girls basketball team’s Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division title this season.
The Red Devils shut down Greenville on the road Saturday, never allowing more than seven points in a quarter in a 60-24 victory that allowed Tippecanoe to clinch its third consecutive outright GWOC American North championship.
Tippecanoe improved to 14-5 on the season and 12-1 in the division with only two games remaining. Entering the day, Troy was only two games back, but the Devils’ win coupled with the Trojans’ overtime loss to Butler gave Tippecanoe a three-game lead.
Kendall Clodfelter led the Red Devils with 13 points, Mackenzie Smith scored nine, Ashleigh Mader and Katie Salyer each added eight and Brooke Aselage scored seven as the Devils took a 17-5 lead after the first quarter then led 29-12 at halftime and 47-19 after three.
Tippecanoe hosts Miami East Monday to begin a three-game homestand to close out the regular season.
WEST MILTON — Milton-Union’s defense locked down Dixie Saturday at home, holding the Greyhounds to only 10 points through the first three quarters in a 51-21 Southwestern Buckeye League Buckeye Division victory.
Kristen Dickison led the way for the Bulldogs (12-6, 7-3 SWBL Buckeye) with 15 points, nine steals, eight assists and six rebounds as Milton-Union led 14-5 after the first quarter, 30-7 at halftime and 44-10 after three. Rachel Thompson added 12 points, seven rebounds and three assists, Olivia Brown chipped in 11 points and four rebounds and Morgan Grudich added nine points, nine rebounds and five steals.
Milton-Union travels to Franklin Monroe for a non-league game Monday.
Other scores: Piqua (12-6, 7-5 GWOC American North 58, Sidney 39. Bradford (14-6) 65, Lehman (8-9) 47. Marion Local 48, Newton (9-11) 19.
COLDWATER — Covington’s wrestling team reached the Division III regional semifinal round of the OHSAA State Duals Tournament Saturday at Coldwater before being elminated by eventual regional champion Versailles, 42-27.
Covington entered as the No. 4 seed and began the day with a 51-24 victory over No. 13 West Liberty-Salem. Connor Sindelier (126) won with a pin in 45 seconds, Riley Richards (132) won a 12-5 decision, Austin Flick (138) won with a pin in 1:15 and Gavin McReynolds (182) won with a pin in 36 seconds in the only four matches wrestled.
The Buccaneers then defeated No. 5 Allen East 40-36 in the quarterfinal round, with Cael Vanderhorst (113) winning with a pin in 17 seconds, Sindelir (132) winning with a pin in 3:59, Keringten Martin (152) winning with a pin in 2:52, Dylan Burns (160) winning with a pin in 57 seconds and Duncan Cooper (170) winning a 16-2 major decision.
In the semis, though, the Buccs couldn’t get past top-seeded Versailles. Kellan Anderson (106) won with a pin in 58 seconds, Vanderhorst (120) won with a pin in 2:24, Martin (160) won with a pin in 59 seconds, McReynolds (182) won a 5-3 decision and Jesse Fisher (220) won a 4-2 decision.
Second-seeded Miami East reached the quarterfinal round on byes but was then upset by No. 7 Mechanicsburg, 40-22. Mechanicsburg eventually lost to Versailles in the regional final. For the Vikings, Max Shore (120) won a 10-3 decision, David Davis (126) won a 10-2 major decision, Michael Miller (170) won a 6-0 decision, Jarrett Winner (182) won with a pin in four seconds, Braeden Beltz (195) won a 5-4 decision and Brenden Dalton (220) won a 3-1 decision.
No. 3 seed Troy Christian advanced to the quarterfinals with a 53-12 win over No. 14 Spencerville. Ethan Turner (132) won with a pin in 1:10, Ryan Whitten (145) won an 18-2 tech. fall, Lucas Moore (160) won with a pin in 1:23, Craig Montgomery (195) won with a pin in one second and Nick Baker won with a pin in 1:24 in the only matches wrestled.
The Eagles were then eliminated in the quarterfinals after a 39-35 loss to No. 6 Coldwater. Troy Kennedy (113) won an 11-7 decision, Turner (132) won with a pin in 49 seconds, Austin Awan (138) won with a pin in 1:32, Whitten (145) won with a pin in 59 seconds, Montgomery (182) won a 12-1 major decision and Baker (220) won an 11-2 major decision.
Josh Brown is the Sports Editor of the Troy Daily News. Contact him at email@example.com, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.