Riders Sting Yellow Jackets

Austin Parks leaps and is fouled as he attempts to shoot the ball to the hoop in the first quarter of Saturday’s non-league boys basketball game against Sidney.
Sports Editor

There’s a saying that speed kills.

But height can do the same. 

The tallest player Sidney has in its lineup is 6-foot-3 Trey Werntz and 6-foot-2 Lathan Jones while everyone knows what St. Marys has — two 6-foot-6 plus teenagers who feasted on the competition on Saturday.

Ethan Steger and Austin Parks combined for 28 points and 6-foot-3 Jadin Davis played bigger than his listed size by adding another 15 as the Roughriders took down the one-loss Yellow Jackets 55-27 in non-league boys basketball action.

“I thought last night [Friday] we kind of had slow feet,” Roughriders coach Dan Hegemier said. “I told them we have to come out and play. This is a very well-coached team, very athletic team and I couldn’t be more proud of our kids. I mean, I thought Steger and Parks were very good inside. LeTrey didn't have one of his best shooting nights, but the rest of his game was really clean and Carson [Fischbach] came in and gave use some really good minutes."

Saturday’s win was a stark contrast to Friday’s game that saw St. Marys struggle to get the ball inside, but the Riders (13-3) targeted their big players against Sidney, moved the ball well and knocked down timely perimeter shots.

St. Marys never trailed in the game as the Roughriders started fast with a layup by Steger, a Parks’ feed to Davis for a layup and a kick-out pass from LeTrey Williams along the baseline to Davis as the junior nailed a 3-pointer for a 7-2 lead through the first three possessions. After a long jumper by Camden Vordemark, the Roughriders closed the quarter with a Steger layup and a Carson Fischbach drive to the left side for a 17-5 lead after one.

Effective ball movement continued in the second quarter beginning with Parks being found on the inside for a layup and a wide-open Steger on another kick-out pass in the left corner in the next possession that led to a 3-pointer and a 19-7 Riders’ lead. 

Sidney (16-2) — winners of seven straight coming into Saturday — scored five of the game’s next seven points, but the Roughriders ended the half by scoring the final seven points on a pair of free throws by Davis, a Davis triple on a Williams’ kick-out pass and a fadeaway putback from Parks on a missed 3-pointer at the buzzer for a 31-14 halftime lead.

Williams, who had a quiet night with seven points, connected from downtown and Davis’ strong evening continued with a 3-pointer late in the third quarter while Sidney struggled from the field by going 1-of-9.

St. Marys ended the game with efficiency by shooting 6-of-8 from the floor as Steger and Parks’ size exhausted the Yellow Jackets. 

Davis drove to the basket and putback his own miss to open the final quarter, followed by three straight layups — two from Steger and one from Parks — to push the lead to 49-22 with 4:22 left. And with a concentration on the inside, Max Mielke and Williams benefitted with late triples.

Davis and Steger both led the Roughriders with a game-high 15 points, followed by 13 points and 10 rebounds by Parks.

St. Marys shot 50% from the field compared to Sidney’s 29% (11-of-48) clip and for the Yellow Jackets, Saturday was the lowest-scoring game on the season. The Jackets averaged 64.8 points per game and a shade more than 42% from the field.

The Roughriders junior varsity team also won 50-37, led by 17 points from Brayden Sullivan and 14 points from Braeden Hemmelgarn.