This would be Andre Gordon’s moment. Seconds ticking down, tie game, conference title on the line. Time to shine for the outstanding junior guard.
And it was. But rather than taking the last shot, Gordon fed Ratez Roberts who was open for what held up as a game-winning layup with 2.5 seconds left.
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“I had my man sitting under the basket,” said Gordon following an offensively challenged 36-34 defeat of host Butler before a near capacity crowd on Tuesday night. “He knew it was coming. That’s just practice. That’s what we do.”
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What Sidney did was scratch back into Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division boys high school basketball contention.
Butler (18-3, 11-3) and Sidney (15-6, 11-3) are tied for the North lead with one divisional game remaining. Butler closes the regular season at Tippecanoe (12-8, 7-6) on Friday and Sidney does the same against visiting Greenville (1-19, 0-14).
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If both Sidney and Butler win, they’ll share the North title. If one wins and the other loses, the winner is the outright champion. It was the fifth straight win by Sidney and snaps Butler’s four-game win streak. Butler defeated Sidney in their first mid-December matchup, 58-51.
Gordon, among the GWOC’s scoring leaders at 24.2 points, was held to a season-low seven points. That’s significant, because twice he’s gone for 40 or more, including a career-high 49 against Greenville. But it was clear from the onset defense would be at a premium. Butler led 2-1 after the first quarter.
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“When you hold Andre Gordon to seven and they only score (36) points, you feel like you’re going to win the game,” said Butler coach DJ Wyrick, in his third season with the Aviators after leaving Billy Donlon’s men’s basketball staff at Wright State University.
Butler never did find its shooting touch, going 3 of 16 in 3-pointers and just 3 of 6 in free throws, “and we’re a good-shooting team,” said Wyrick. “For everyone on our team, that’s probably the biggest game they’ve ever played in. We were a little tight early on.”
Toledo-bound football recruit Devan Rogers led Sidney with 10 points and Roberts, also an emerging junior receiver, added eight.
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Kort Justice, a senior transfer guard from Miamisburg and Butler’s leading scorer, led the Aviators with 12 points. He hadn’t scored less than 20 in Butler’s previous four games. Bryant Johnson, another emerging junior who is generating football recruiting interest as a 6-foot-6 receiver, added eight points.
Butler landed the No. 3 seed in a loaded Dayton 1, Division I sectional at Centerville. The Aviators have a first-round bye and will play the Xenia/Fairmont winner.
Sidney could do no better than a No. 8 seed in the Dayton 2 sectional. The Yellow Jackets will play Troy in the first round on Feb. 13 at Trotwood-Madison.
“That’s what teams are going to do to us because they don’t want us going up and down and that’s Butler’s system, for the most part,” said Sidney coach John Willoughby.
Miamisburg 62, Fairborn 56: Senior Jason Hubbard unloaded 10 fourth-quarter points and tallied a game-high 29 in leading the host Vikings to their eighth straight win. Duncan Hall added 17 points. Miamisburg (17-4, 6-4) already has won the GWOC National West title and ends the regular season at Northmont on Friday.
Miamisburg is a No. 4 seed in the Dayton 1, D-I sectional. The Vikings will play the Lebanon/Belmont winner in the second round. Barring upsets, Miamisburg will play Butler in a sectional final. Shaunn Monroe had five 3-pointers and led Fairborn (8-13) with a season-high 33 points.
Northmont 76, Bethel 63: The visiting Thunderbolts limited high-scoring Caleb South to 15 points to earn an impressive win. Jabari Perkins led Northmont with 17 points. Ryan Rose led Bethel (16-4) with 21 points and Kendal James added 18.
Northmont (9-11) opens the Dayton 3, D-I sectional against Fairborn on Feb. 23. Bethel (16-4) is a No. 2 seed in the Northmont 1, D-III sectional and will play the Miami East/Greenon winner on Feb. 28. Bethel (11-0) has clinched the Cross County Conference title.
Greenon 62, Emmanuel Christian 58, double-OT: Trevor Anderson hit a 3-pointer with 2.6 second left in regulation and tallied 17 points in leading the host Knights.