VANDALIA — Tuesday’s basketball game that saw Sidney travel to Butler had all the markings of an important early season game. After the two teams tied for the Greater Western Ohio Conference North title a year ago, a win by either team would give the victor a one game lead for the league title.
The Yellow Jackets and Aviators didn’t disappoint as 32 minutes weren’t enough to decide the contest. Sidney went on a 9-0 run over the final 1:11 of regulation to force overtime and then outscored the Aviators 10-5 in the extra time to pull out a 51-46 win on the road.
Butler (6-1 overall, 3-1 GWOC North) suffered its first loss of the year while Sidney (5-1, 4-0) remained unbeaten in league play.
“Obviously late, we just fell apart,” said Butler head coach DJ Wyrick. “They (Sidney) made some really tough shots late. (Michael) Kreill played terrific defense. They just made plays at the end. We had some turnovers we shouldn’t have had at the end, but I can’t fault our kids. We had effort and played hard.”
The game was a defensive slog from the beginning. Butler struck first after winning the opening tip on a basket by Cooper Justice, but Sidney answered quickly with a three by Darren Taborn and and basket by Josiah Hudgins. Bryant Johnson hit a layup at the buzzer to cut the Sidney lead to 10-8 heading to the second period.
Sidney maintained a lead throughout the second period building it as high as five points at 15-10. But a three-pointer by Braedon Norman and a late basket by Kreill cut the deficit to 18-15 at the half.
“That first few minutes we were hesitant to attack them,” said Wyrick. “We were getting to the rim, but we weren’t finishing. Once we figured that out and started finishing at the rim we shot the ball really well.”
The third period was all Butler as Bryant Johnson completed an old-fashioned three point play to tie the game at 18-18. Quentin Glover made a pair of baskets off assists from Johnson as the Aviators outscored Sidney 12-4 in the period to take a 27-22 lead heading into the final stanza.
Johnson and Glover continued to dominate the inside game as the Aviators built their largest lead of the game at 35-24 which forced Sidney to call time with 3:53 to play. Butler began to play ball control to milk the clock and appeared to be in control with a lead of 41-32 after Kreill hit a pair of free throws with 1:11 to play.
“What we were trying to do there was to try to bring them out (away from the basket),” said Wyrick. “Michael was having success getting around them and I just felt if we could continue to extend them out it would open up the driving lanes. We tried to burn some clock. The problem is when you have a kid like Andre Gordon on the other side in those type of games you want to limit the number of possessions he’s going to have the ball in his hands.”
A three pointer by Taborn coupled with a miss on the front end of a Butler one-and-one was followed by a three pointer by Gordon that cut the score to 41-38 with 41 seconds to play. A Butler turnover led to an old-fashioned three point play by Ratez Roberts that tied the game at 41-41.
Butler had a chance to win the game in regulation following a timeout with 11 seconds left. Kreill drove to the right block and had a good look but his shot was just off to the right and the game was sent to overtime.
Sidney came out firing in the overtime period as Keith Lee hit a three-pointer and Gordon got a steal and a dunk to take a 46-41 lead and Butler would never lead again.
“Our kids fricking played hard,” said Wyrick. “As weird as it sounds, I feel better about this game than the Troy game (a 58-50 win). We came out and competed tonight where as the Troy game, we didn’t. I think everyone in the gym though we had the game won up 11 with two minutes to play.”
Butler will travel to Tippecanoe on Friday. Tip time is 7:30 p.m.
Reach Darrell Wacker by phone at (937) 684-8984 @VandaliaDrummer on Twitter