HARRIMAN — Grace Christian surged from behind in the fourth quarter of Monday's Region 2-A semifinal here, outscoring Oneida 18-5 in the final period to claim a 50-44 win and advance to the region championship game.
The Rams trailed much of the second half, but took the lead with 3:21 remaining on a shot by Lauren Hensley, who finished with 15 points. Oneida answered on a bucket by Jessica Morgan — who led all scorers with 18 — but Grace would take the lead for good with 1:43 remaining on another shot by Hensley.
Morgan's points with 2:55 remaining were Oneida's last points of the ballgame, as Grace closed on an 8-0 run. Katherine Griffith capped the scoring with a pair of free throws with 21 seconds left to put the game out of reach.
The loss ended Oneida's season at 23-9. The Lady Indians advanced to the region semifinals for the first time since 2009 but came up one step shy of their first substate appearance since 2005.
Nevertheless, the team exceeded expectations in a year when most observers elsewhere in the district expected Oneida to finish a distant fourth to league frontrunners like Oliver Springs and Coalfield.
Oneida started Monday's game shaky, shooting just 15 percent from the field in a first quarter that saw Grace take a 10-5 lead.
Oneida surged in the final stages of the second quarter, however, using a 9-1 run to take a 28-25 lead to the intermission.
Kelsie Caldwell had a big first half, with 11 points and six rebounds, to help pace the Lady Indians to the halftime lead.
Oneida coach Marv West credited the play of his junior post player.
"Kelsie came to play tonight," he said. "I was very proud of her. Her mom was hurt bad in an accident Saturday so I know there was more than just basketball on her mind tonight."
After Grace scored to open the third quarter, Oneida went on an 11-5 run to build a 39-32 lead with 2:24 remaining in the period when Morgan hit a 3-point shot.
The Lady Indians would go cold after that, however, missing their final five shots of the third quarter and shooting just two of seven in the fourth quarter as Grace stormed back to take the lead late.
"We did not execute on offense (in the fourth quarter)," West said. "That's my fault. We didn't get good looks and when they got the ball, No. 5 (Hensley) took it right at us."
Monday's game was the last for two Oneida seniors, Lecretia Robbins and Shalyn Lay.
"Our seniors were big for us and not just on the court," West said. "Sometimes they had quiet games, showing our players the way things are supposed to be done."
SCORING: Oneida — Morgan 18, Caldwell 13, Newport 6, Williams 4, Robbins 3. Grace Christian — Duggins 16, Hensley 15, Griffith 8, Johnson 6, C. Pridemore 3, Hunt 2.