JELLICO — The homestanding Lady Blue Devils entered Friday’s game here with only six wins over the course of the last five seasons and without a District 4-A win since joining the district four seasons ago.
You would have never known it for the game’s first three quarters, however, as an upset-minded Jellico team stood toe-to-toe with the district’s No. 2 team before falling, 61-47.
Despite starter Brittany Kennedy suffering a first half wrist injury that ended her night and starter Courtney Charles battling illness throughout the game, Jellico managed to lead much of the first half and by as much as five points in the third period.
Ultimately, though, Oneida had simply too much firepower for the Blue Devils, despite a career night from Natasha Taylor, who led all scorers with 26 points.
Micah Stephens had 25 points and 15 rebounds, nine of them on the offensive end, along with five blocked shots to pace Oneida, which trailed 34-29 early in the third quarter before seizing momentum and taking control of the game.
Jessica Morgan added 13 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals.
After seeing Jellico jump to an early 8-2 lead, Oneida battled back to take a 12-10 lead on a shot by Baylee Newport late in the first period.
But Jellico refused to go away, twice taking the lead in the second quarter. After Oneida went up by five, 25-20, with three minutes remaining in the half,
Jellico finished the period on a 10-2 run to take a 30-27 lead to the intermission after Rachel Ayers hit a 3-point shot in the waning seconds.
The lead was five, 34-29, when Oneida managed just one bucket in the first 2:30 of the third period. But from that point, it was mostly Oneida.
The Lady Indians never trailed after tying the game on a free throw by Stephens, and took the lead for good on a shot by Stephens with 2:03 remaining in the third.
A 3-point shot by Taylor stopped the bleeding for Jellico as the third quarter ended, but Oneida started the fourth quarter on a 7-0 run to widen the lead to double digits. Jellico would not seriously challenge the lead the rest of the way.
Both teams shot 33 percent from the field, but Oneida took advantage of the three throw line, hitting 18 of 25 (72 percent) attempts. Morgan hit all seven of her attempts, while Stephens was seven of eight from the line.
Oneida out-rebounded Jellico 44-37 and forced 28 turnovers.
SCORING: Oneida — M. Stephens 25, Morgan 13, Newport 7, Robbins 4, Williams 4, Caldwell 4, Carson 2, Lay 2. Jellico — Taylor 26, Ayers 12, Charles 7, Creekmore 2.