MARION, Ohio -- Ryan Sheridan might be the best senior you've likely never heard of. The 6-foot-5 Elgin wing has been putting up major numbers this season, going for 20 more more points in nine of Elgin's 12 games prior to Monday's non-league matchup against Cardington.
Despite a slow start, Sheridan erupted in the second half, scoring 16 of his game-high 20 points after halftime to power the host Comets (8-5) over Cardington (5-7), 43-35.
While Cardington did an outstanding job on the defensive perimeter in the first half to hold Sheridan to just two field goals, the senior let loose in the second half. With Elgin facing an 18-16 halftime deficit, Sheridan scored 11 points alone in the third quarter to lift his team to a double digit lead.
The senior took advantage of his size, finishing over smaller Cardington defenders around the rim all night. Sheridan's scoring prowess combined with the hustle plays of seniors Carter Sager, Evan Backensto and Justin Brown helped Elgin pull away in the fourth quarter and keep Cardington at a distance.
Sheridan was the only player in the game with double figures, as he hit seven shots to finish with 20 points. Backensto added eight points, while Sager and Brown combined for 15.
For Cardington, Mason White led all scorers with eight points. Sharp-shooting junior Danny Vaught added seven, while juniors Trey Brininger and Avery Harper each contributed six. Brininger got off to a hot start to help Cardington build a 13-7 first quarter lead, however, the junior struggled from the field the rest of the way as the Pirates were held to 22 points in the final three quarters.
With the win, Elgin will look to stay hot on Wednesday when the Comets travel to Bucyrus.
For Cardington, the Pirates resume KMAC league play on Friday at Fredericktown.
Ryan Sheridan (6'5 WG / Elgin / 2020): The 6-foot-5 senior Sheridan was a player we had been wanting to see for a few weeks and finally got the chance as we made our first-ever trip to Elgin. For those not familiar, Elgin is just outside of Marion and located about an hour north-northwest of Columbus. For Division III coaches looking for a bigger wing who can absolutely score it, Sheridan fits the bill here as he showed us what he's capable of in the second half. Sheridan has a very reliable floater that he constantly used in the lane and had great success with it. For his size, Sheridan has a tight handle and showed the ability to beat defenders off the bounce. The senior has a knockdown hook shot that he hit twice, we saw him finish with either hand and even hit a catch and shoot three that caught nothing but the bottom of the net. Sheridan has been a reliable outside shooter this season, hitting four or more triples in a handful of games, and while his shot wasn't falling in the first half, he showed the IQ and resolve to get inside and use his size against a smaller Cardington team. We liked the passing potential that he showed, as Sheridan delivered a few instinctive passes off the dribble in transition and constantly kept the ball moving in the half court when his shot wasn't open. With a 3.0+ GPA and 21 ACT, Sheridan is a qualifier and could be an instant impact guy at the next level. For programs needing size that also offer athletic training as a major, Sheridan needs to be a priority as he had yet to be contacted by a college program prior to our Monday viewing of him. With what we saw and what we project him to be at the next level, that certainly should change.
Trey Brininger (6'3 WG / Cardington / 2021): On a night where points were hard to come by for Cardington, Brininger was a standout due to his overall impact. The physical 6-foot-3 guard was a monster on the glass, coming up with a handful of offensive rebounds and cleaning up on the other end of the floor. With a reliable handle and advanced passing ability, Brininger was able to grab and go at will on Monday. The 6-foot-3 junior hit two jumpers off the bounce from the mid-range, while using his size and strength on a post up score. We were most impressed with his toughness and playmaking ability, as he was able to use his physicality to get to the rim whenever he wanted and pull down a handful of contested rebounds. In a KMAC conference with a handful of talented sleepers, Brininger should be considered among that group.