Too small, too many turnovers, and too much Jace Turner…Sidney drops a Saturday afternoon matinee to St. Marys and the Roughriders’ hot post player, 52-38.
Sidney, OH – Veteran coach John Willoughby is old enough to know that good athletic big players usually beat good athletic smaller players in basketball.
And that said, that’s what stung Willoughby and his now 14-6 Sidney Yellowjackets Saturday afternoon in matinee 52-38 non-conference loss to Dan Hegemier and the St. Marys Roughriders (12-5).
St. Marys’ size with 6’7″ post men Jace Turner and Evan Angstmann scored 25 and 14 points, respectively, to lead the ‘Riders to their twelfth win of the year…and made it look academic after a close first quarter.
“They got a lead and they’re good when they get a lead,” said Willoughby about the game. “Their size advantage was a big disadvantage for us. When you have to dedicate two or three men to their size in the middle it’s disruptive, for sure.”
Still, Sidney scrapped its way to a 9-9 verdict after the first quarter, despite early fouls and some bad turnovers that aided the Roughriders’ cause.
But early in the second quarter Jace Turner made his presence known, and it wasn’t under the rim. The Memorial big man stepped outside, from 18 feet, and began to drop one jump shot after another, including a three-pointer that he canned, confidently. Scoring four points in the first quarter, he added seven more in the second, shooting 5 of 8 from the field, to lead the Roughriders to a 23-13 halftime lead…because Sidney barely scored at all.
The only Yellowjacket points came on a bucket and a pair of free throws by junior Julius Spradling, the result of too many empty possessions, more turnovers, and rushed shots.
It’s always been a trademark of Hegemier basketball…his teams’ ability to work the ball with patience, and make opposing teams lose patience on both ends of the floor. So it was again, as Hegemier’s offense found one wide open look after another for Turner in the third quarter, and the 6’7″ senior didn’t disappoint. He hit a pair of 2s, a pair of 3s, shot 5 of 8 overall, and led St. Marys on 24-10 run that eventually ended with a 42-27 lead by quarter’s end.
“And we really didn’t shoot the ball that well today,” said Hegemier, afterwards. “We just try to do the best we can. Last night we couldn’t guard our shadow, and we really haven’t played that well on Fridays. I don’t know what it is, and I’m going to have to change something in our practices, to get us going. But we guarded well today. We rebounded well. And today was a good win for us.”
No one wearing black and yellow seemed to notice that the shots weren’t falling, especially for Turner.
“Well, you know Evan Angstmann has really been shooting it well, and he didn’t today,” added Hegermier. “Balls weren’t dropping for him.
“But Jace Turner really showed up. He showed you what kind of player he is today. That was a man’s game inside, and he showed a lot of confidence, grit, and determination. He did a helluva’ job today.”
Shots weren’t dropping for Sidney, either, as try as Willoughby did, he never found the right matchup, or combination to combat the size disadvantage at the rim. The one offensive bright spot was junior A’zon Steele, who fearlessly slashed through Hegemier’s interior defense to attack the rim and get to the free throw line. Held to just three points in the first half, Steele ignited in the second to score 12 points and finished with a team-high 15.
Spradling would finish in double figures with 12, while Jayce Daniel had 6, Ethan New had 3, and Mitchell Davis was quiet, scoring just 2 points.
Turner and Angstmann did all the damage for St. Marys in the final quarter, as each team scored 10 points…and Angstmann had the last say with a thunderous dunk in transition for the game’s final point.
Turner finished with his 25, Angstmann had 14, guard Noah Payne had 7, Cobain Owens, Alex Hoenie, and Brennan Steger each had 2.
St. Marys moved to 12-5 for the season, but impressively, their five losses have come against teams like Columbus DeSales, Findlay, Dublin Jerome, Lima Shawnee, and Ottawa-Glandorf…and none of them have been blowouts.
Sidney drops to 14-6, but is athletic enough, talented enough with Steele and Spradling in the backcourt, to be a nightmare for any given team they face come next weekend’s tournament draw.
“The tournament for us will depend on matchups,” said Willoughby, who agrees, given a favorable opponent his Yellowjackets are capable of delivering the knockout blow.
“But we’ve been having a good run, we knew today would be a tough game for us, but we really want to get our league title. That’s our concentration and focus with two games left (Tipp and Greenville).”