The GWOC North champions are unbeaten with two games to go, but coaches and players alike say they have unfinished business in the post-season.
Sidney – Megan Mummey returned to her alma mater five years ago hoping to turn around a floundering girls’ basketball program.
Consider that mission accomplished, and then some.
Mummey’s Sidney Lady Yellowjackets have won back to back GWOC North titles, and are two games away from one of the rarest feats in high school basketball…an unbeaten regular season.
“It’s a really special time for the girls,” Mummey said, relaxing in her office after practice Tuesday afternoon. “Last season was very successful with a 21-1 regular season record, but we fell short in the tournament. So to be able to come back and be 20-0, it really is a special time for the girls.”
The Jackets have gone 16-8, 22-2 and 20-0 in the past three seasons. Overall, Mummey’s record is 77-37, and that includes a 4-17 disaster her first year at the helm.
After years of losing, changes were needed when the new coach arrived.
“The girls didn’t know how to win,” Mummey remembered. “They played not to lose almost. It took a good two years for us to understand what to do late in a close game to win. We would take the final 25 minutes of practice and just work on late game situations. The girls were used to losing and had no idea what to do when they did have a chance to win.”
Mummey is the first to admit that you don’t go 58-10 over two-plus season without talent. And the Jackets have it.
“We start with Sylvia Hudson, who is about to set the all-time scoring record for girls basketball. She is only 5-9 ½, but she is very strong. She is going to get the ball inside and score for us. Celena Taborn is our 6-3 junior center, and she is always there. An easy target on offense and a force on the defensive end. That is always our first option: get the ball inside.
“When teams pack it in, that when our senior guard Kaitlyn Davis steps up. She can shoot the three or drive and kick it out. Carrie Nuss, Jada Rowland and Ashley Egan have all stepped up their games to give us the balance we need to be successful.”
Hudson needs just three points against Troy to set the all-time scoring record for girls basketball. The current record holder is Tangela Wells, who set the mark back in 1994.
“It feels great to be unbeaten at this point,” Hudson said. My teammates and I have really worked hard and the undefeated season is important to us.”
The Jackets allow just 36 points a game, and less than 30 in the GWOC North.
“We talk about defense a lot,” Mummey went on. “We have great guard pressure and speed, and if they do get by us, they run into Taborn in the paint. She has worked hard to become a force on defense. We still have to get better with the press, because I think that can lead to some easy points.”
There have been some memorable highlights so far this season.
“The Centerville game stands out because they beat us last season,” Mummey reflected. “The girls were pointing to that game from the beginning. They went out and played four quarters of great basketball. We went to Tecumseh when both teams were state ranked, and the girls just never gave up. We had some adversity with foul trouble and a few technicals, but the girls just wouldn’t lose.
The last game that stands out was against North Royalton at Classic in the Country. We were down by four at halftime, and the girls knew we were facing a very good team. They came out and really responded in the second half.”
Mummey said the Jackets are looking forward to the postseason after losing in the sectional semi-finals a year ago.
“We play at Troy, so that’s an advantage, because we have already played there. We have to take it one game at a time. We have to get through Miamisburg, and then Piqua for the third time before possibly facing Springboro. We have a week off after the Greenville game Saturday, so I am going to bring some people in that will give us different looks and help us prepare.”
Senior guard Kaitlyn Davis, who shoots an impressive 45% from the three-point arc, said the end of the season is bittersweet.
“We don’t want it to end, obviously, but at the same time, we are excited to see what we can do in the tournament. We are really looking forward to it.”
“Senior night will be special,” continued Davis. “Especially with Sylvia setting the all-time scoring record. I am really happy for her. We have played together for four years so for her to get that record means a lot to me. “
Hudson is excited about the record, but knows she didn’t do it alone.
“It is a great accomplishment, she acknowledged. “I had to work hard all four years, and I am just proud of myself and my teammates in there helping me. If it wasn’t for them, I would never be in this position. They get me the ball and have pushed me throughout my career.
Davis said another factor in the Jackets success is the chemistry on and off the court.
“We are a lot closer this year than last year, even though we went 22-2. We went to Classic in the Country and all hung out together at the hotel and we’ve just bonded throughout the season. We are all friends off the court, and that helps us on the court.”
The Jackets, despite the unbeaten record, were voted the number 2 seed behind 19-1 Wayne at the sectional draw on Sunday.
“I know it made a couple of my girls mad, but Wayne is a very good team,” Mummey acknowledged. “They beat Lakota West, which is number 2 in the state, and they have proven themselves. Overall, I was ok being the number two seed.”
Mummey, who graduated from Sidney in 2004, and spent three years as an assistant at Edison Community College before taking the Sidney job, said the recent success is gratifying.
“It means a lot to me. I have had a lot of community support. Miss Williams (Former longtime coach Maggi, now the assistant athletic director) and I are really good friends and talk every day. She is a mentor to me in a way because she has had that success. She helped me from the start, especially early when we weren’t having success. Playing here was great, but I wish we had the success that we are having now. It’s almost like I am living it through my girls and I am back in high school. It’s meant the world to me.”
Wednesday is senior night against Troy, and while there are still more games to be played, the coach is expecting to be needing a box of tissues.
“Two of these girls have played for me since they were freshmen. Sylvia is going to break the all-time scoring record, which is a huge accomplishment. I am so proud to honor these five seniors because they have worked hard and deserve a great recognition tomorrow.”
(Edited by Julie McMaken Wright)