Rivalry Renewed: Sidney beats Lehman Catholic in public-paraochial clash


Sidney and junior Zach Yinger beat Lehman Catholic in a renewed rivalry game. (Photo by Nick Falzerano)

The Sidney boys manipulated the great escape, while avoiding the upset at Lehman
High School with a 51-48 win in a much-anticipated and long-awaited cross-town
matchup. The last time these two schools competed, these kids were still in diapers.
Regardless, it was worth the wait.

The Sidney boys manipulated the great escape, while avoiding the upset at Lehman
High School with a 51-48 win in a much-anticipated and long-awaited cross-town
matchup. The last time these two schools competed, these kids were still in diapers.
Regardless, it was worth the wait.

A community divided the past 1 1/2 years due to school levy defeats and Board of
Election debacles, sports fans, not yes or no voters, congregated and witnessed a
bunch of youngsters spilling their guts out for silly human pride and summertime
bragging rights.

Before the tip-off, it was a contrast in body language. The spectators were enjoying
the atmosphere, eager for the big game. The Lehman bench was loose, relaxed, smiling
and talking. The Sidney bench looked business-like. Coach Clark looked stoic, almost
mannequin-like because he knew that as great as this game was for the community, the
pressure was on him. He knew DI teams aren’t supposed to lose to DIV schools.

However, quite the contrary. Coach Clark said, “I don’t play that game. Lehman has a
good team. The players know each other. They play together during the summer. Some
are on same AAU team. Some of their kids attended my summer camp in the fourth
grade. Technically, they are bigger than us because they draw from Sidney, Piqua,
and Troy. That’s a 100,000 population base compared to our 20,000. The size of the
two schools is immaterial. They play good basketball and are well coached.”

Sidney jumped out to a 15-8 first quarter lead. Both teams matched defensive
intensity, contesting each pass, every shot.

Jack Foy ignited the Jackets with five points in the first four minutes of action
with blazing drives to the rack. Even Lehman fans were in awe of his speed and

The Cavaliers refused to get rattled, though, as Nick Cordonnier swished a
turn-around 14-footer and Jon Slagle drained a 16-footer.

Zach Yinger ended the quarter with a three-ball from the perimeter. The junior
standout finished the night with seven points, well below his 16-point average.

Lehman showed more patience on offense in the second quarter and crawled to within
four points, 18-14, at the break. The Cavs did it by outscoring the Jackets 6-3 in a
helter-skelter display of basketball.

Down 17-8, Lehman forged onward with a nifty inside bucket by Adam Freytag, a David
Spearman floater down the lane, and then a powerful stick-back by big Joe Butz.

Sidney expanded the lead 32-24 after three periods. Lehman managed 10 points with
five different players contributing. Daniel Ocke matched the Cavs with 10 points of
his own. He was hot, like fire hot. The 6′ 6″ junior started the quarter with a
three and ended it with a three. In between , he scored on a post move in the paint
and then again on a driving lay-up thanks to a nice lead pass from Foy.

Zach Michael struggled for three quarters with one point, but scored nine in the
final stanza, including a 3-point-play to give the Jackets a 41-29 cushion with 4:32

Sidney expanded the margin 43-30 on a Foy driving lay-up with 4:02 remaining. It
looked as though Sidney’s athleticism would prevail.

But then again, looks can be decieving.

Lehman roared back, playing with the heart of a lion (no pun intended). Sophomore
Alex Baker bombed a three from the corner. Cordonnier worked inside for a basket and
then Spearman swished a triple from beyond the circle.

Spearman wasn’t done, though. He drove the lane for a basket and then connected on
another three before Cordonnier made an impossible fade-away 10-foot jumper.

Just like that, the Cavs were back in it, trailing 47-45 with 1:18 left in
regulation. Spearman led the charge with eight points.

Coach Clark said, “Give Spearman credit. He made that one three with two players in
his face and then we kind of lost Baker in transition when he scored. The kid is a
good spot-up shooter.”

Sidney led 49-46 with 16.7 seconds left when Ocke was fouled. He walked to the line
for a 1+1 and calmly sank both foul shots for a 51-46 lead to preserve the outcome.

Lehman coach Bruce Vanover said, “It was a mad scramble at the end. The ball didn’t
bounce our way. But these are the kind of games you want to be involved in as a
player and coach.”

Ocke led all scorers with 16 points. Foy added 13 and Michael contributed 10.

Spearman paced Lehman with 12 points. Jon Slagle added 10 and Adam Freytag chipped
in nine.

Sidney improves to 10-4 overall and Lehman slips to 8-6.

“The lockerroom is sad, but I don’t think the kids realize the monumental task of
going out thare and playing against Sidney,” Vanover said. “We made it a game
against a very good DI team. Anyone. Anytime. That is my belief. Games like this
make you a better team.”

Both coaches enjoyed the atmosphere and had plenty to say about it.

Coach Clark said, “Tonight was a completely different animal. Both teams were
extremely nervous to start the game. Not used to playing in front of 2,400 people.
Near the end, I thought it was our maturity and experience that won out. There were
several times in the end we could have folded up like a $30 pup tent. But we made
the plays.”

The veteran coach concluded, “The atmosphere was great. The kids talked about how
great it would be to play in front of crowds like tonight. It was a great game and
everybody got their $6 worth.”

Coach Vanover was in agreement and said, “I had fun. The crowd. The noise. It was

Only 364 days until the rematch at Sidney.

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