Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Sidor, Rebels Take Another Huge Step

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Sidor, Rebels Take Another Huge Step

Article excerpt

MAHWAH -- Michelle Sidor gathered the basketball, cradled it in the crook of her right arm and took off running toward the Saddle River Day bench.

She was moving by leaps and bounds, and so is her team.

Saddle River Day claimed its second straight Bergen County girls basketball title Sunday, knocking off Immaculate Conception, 51-39, at the Bradley Center at Ramapo College. It was chapter two this season in what has been a compelling series of games between the two schools.

Unlike in the first meeting, the Rebels owned Sunday. They never trailed, and they led by 12 points at halftime. They threw a new defense at the Blue Wolves, a hard man-to-man, that never let the Lodi school get any momentum.

And they also had Sidor. The sophomore drained her first two threes from Steph Curry-like distance, struggled a bit after that, but finished with a game-high 28 points.

"Yes, let me mention that," Rebels coach Danny Brown said with a smile, after detailing multiple other factors in the Rebels victory. "Obviously, it's so nice to have. I really felt we were a little stagnant in the first half, a little bit too much standing around, a little bit too much Michelle Ball. We talked about that at halftime, setting a lot more screens. Again, the kids bought in, so there you go."

Brown frequently talks about Michelle Ball, but never describes what it is. He doesn't have to. Having a player with such talent at scoring on his side, the issue can be not having the other four Rebels just sitting back and letting her do all the work.

In this tournament, that was never the case. Jenna Jordan had eight points and 12 rebounds Sunday, and also kept Immaculate Conception senior Danielle Deoul mostly in check. Senior Cassy Cruz handled the basketball so that Sidor didn't have to all the time and made a couple of big shots.

The Rebels also got at least an emotional lift from sophomore Jaayden Fontanant, a transfer from Immaculate Conception (of all places) who became eligible Sunday. Fontanant didn't start and scored two points.

"When you have a kid in that situation playing against their former team, you never know how it's going to go," said Brown. "I could see that it was just way too much energy and meant way too much to her. …

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