SIDNEY — The journey to playing on varsity was longer than Dominick Durr had hoped for entering high school. But Durr, a junior guard, is having fun with Sidney this season.
And with games like Friday night, it’s easy to imagine how fun it must be for the Yellow Jackets’ players.
Sidney quickly jumped out to a double-digit lead and cruised to a 73-47 victory over Greenville in a Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division game. The victory improved the Yellow Jackets to 6-1 overall and 5-0 in conference play.
Sidney avoided a letdown on Friday in its first game following a 51-46 overtime win at Vandalia-Butler on Tuesday.
“That felt really good,” Durr said of Tuesday’s win. “Coming into (tonight’s) game, Coach (John Willoughby) got on us and told us they were going to fight hard. It’s whoever wanted it more, and we fought harder.”
Durr scored all seven of his points in the first quarter to help the team take a 26-11 early lead.
“It’s a good feeling to finally be on varsity after two years,” Durr said. “Last year, I had an issue with my grades. I had to work on that and I got those up, and I’m fine now. I just work hard in the gym every day.”
Willoughby said Durr’s presence is felt in more ways than just scoring.
“I thought Dominick had a great summer for us,” Willoughby said. “He just plays with great speed and he keeps himself pretty much under control. He’s hitting some 3s and can take it to the basket. But the biggest thing is when we put him into the game, our energy picks up. He’s really good at the run-and-jump.
“If he’s on the ball, he’s taking it from you, and if he’s off the ball, he’s probably the best one that rotates for interceptions.”
Andre Gordon led Sidney 21 points while Josiah Hudgins and Darren Taborn each added 13. Ratez Roberts added nine points and had several blocks.
“He’s a great shot blocker and a great defender,” Durr said of Roberts. “It’s not really easy to score on him in the paint, and that’s big for us. …It gets everybody going and excited when he gets (a block).”
Roberts’ blocks were one of several displays of the team’s athleticism on Friday. Gordon and Taborn also had blocks, and Gordon had a pair of thunderous two-handed dunks in the first half.
But despite the early displays of talent, Greenville (0-7, 0-5) finished the second quarter on a 9-3 run to cut the lead to 33-24 at halftime. Sidney quickly pulled away in the third quarter, though.
Hudgins and Taborn opened the half with baskets, then Hudgins made a 3-pointer to boost the lead to 16 points. Roberts made a shot off the glass in the final 30 seconds of the third to increase the lead to 57-37.
Willoughby was happy the squad pulled away quickly in the second half after Greenville finished the second quarter on a big run.
“We’re just not good at keeping it up right now,” Willoughby said. “We do a good job, then we don’t do a good job. We’re just not very good at carrying it out the whole time, the whole game.
“I was glad to see Darren have a good game. And I thought our bench came in and did a good job the first time around we put them in.”
Sidney took the lead fast, thanks in part to its full-court press flustering Greenville and causing turnovers.
Gordon made a dunk and then followed with a 3-pointer from the right corner with 5:35 left in the first to put Sidney ahead 7-2, then Hudgins made a basket and hit 1-of-2 free-throws a bit later to extend the lead to eight.
Gordon made a basket with 4:16 left, then Hudgins followed about 30 seconds with a basket to increase the lead to 14-2.
Durr made a 3-pointer from the right corner with five seconds left to extend Sidney’s lead to 26-8, but Noah Walker made a shot from beyond half court at the buzzer to shrink the lead to 15 heading into the second.
“We were playing good defense,” Durr said of the hot start. “Dre was finding the open man, and I was open. Defense really sets up everything well for us.”
Gordon dunked after a pass from Hudgins with 4:35 left in the second to put Sidney ahead 30-15. But the Green Wave finished the half with their big run to cut the gap to nine points heading into the third quarter.
“We were worried about the start of the game, coming off the win at Butler and Christmas coming up and everything,” Willoughby said. “We started the game the right way and I felt good, but we had that little lull. … It was more or offense there than our defense. I thought defensively we were doing pretty good. We had three charges there and weren’t getting much out of the press after a while.”
Sidney has a week off before its next game. The Yellow Jackets will host perennial GWOC power Wayne next Saturday.
The Warriors, which lost to eventual state champion Moeller in a regional final last year, were 3-3 heading into a conference game at rival Centerville on Friday. Among the Warriors’ losses is a 46-45 home loss to Butler.
“We just have to go into the game strong with the same mindset as Butler,” Durr said. “If we play our best, I feel like we can get the win.”
Walker led Greenville with 11 points. Jordan Dill and Tyler Beyke each added 10 while Alec Fletcher scored nine.