In a preview of the first round of the District 4-A tournament, Oneida defeated Oliver Springs Friday, 60-39, to close out the regular season with its fourth consecutive victory.
The Indians jumped to a quick 6-0 start out of the locker room and never trailed on senior night, eventually widening the advantage to 18 points by the end of the first half.
With the win, Oneida (17-10) set the tone for a first round game against the Bobcats on the same floor next Thursday. Oliver Springs (7-18) entered the night in fifth place in the district, but Coalfield's 86-64 win over Oakdale lifted the Yellow Jackets into a tie with the Bobcats. Earlier in the week, Coalfield won a coin toss between the two schools, leaving Oliver Springs in sixth place.
Next Thursday's game will tip off at 7 p.m. at OHS Gymnasium. The winner will advance to Saturday's district semifinals in Wartburg, likely against Sunbright.
Cole West led with 22 points and six rebounds, while Clay Jeffers had 11 points. Trevor Allen had eight rebounds, seven of them on the offensive end of the court.
Aaron Noe scored 10 to lead Oliver Springs, all in the first half.
Oneida won comfortably despite shooting just 35 percent from the field and 64 percent from the free throw line. The Indians forced 24 turnovers while committing just nine of their own, while out-rebounding Oliver Springs 39-33.
After the game, an emotional Rusty Yaden credited his team for gaining momentum going into the postseason. Six Oneida seniors played their final regular season game at OHS Gymnasium and ended it with their fourth consecutive win after a difficult month of January that saw the Indians struggle at times. Yaden's son, Austin Yaden, is among the team's seniors.
SCORING: Oneida -- West 22, C. Jeffers 11, Allen 9, Yaden 6, Sharp 4, Boshears 2, Flint 2, Freels 2, M. Jeffers 2. Oliver Springs -- Noe 10, Henley 7, Miller 5, Thornton 4, Murray 4, Simpson 3, Evans 2, McGee 2, Poole 2.