Sophomore Cage West scored a career-high 18 points and his first career double-double by adding 13 rebounds as Oneida defeated Sunbright 63-55 at OHS Gymnasium Tuesday evening.
Despite the efforts of West, the 6-1 Indians found themselves on the ropes against the 0-8 Tigers until junior sharp-shooter Josh Sharp knocked down 3-point shots on back-to-back-to-back trips down the court in the fourth quarter to provide the winning edge. Sharp finished with 14.
Senior big man Zeke Newport also had a big night for the Indians, finishing with 12 points before fouling out early in the fourth quarter.
Oneida started slow, shooting under 30 percent in the first half and finishing with a 37 percent shooting effort in their second game without senior and team leader Cole West, who is expected to be out until early January with a fractured bone in his foot.
But the younger West picked a good opportunity to pick up the slack, blocking three shots and grabbing big rebound after big rebound to help the Indians hold off the upset-minded Tigers, who had emerged victorious against the Indians on the same court the last time the two teams faced.
Behind 16 points from Jacob Swint and 15 from Noah Freels, Sunbright led Oneida much of the night. But the Tigers were their own worst enemy from the free throw line, hitting only 13 of 25 attempts on a night that also saw them shoot only 32 percent from the field.
Sunbright led by as much as eight points at one point in the second quarter before Oneida began to slowly climb back into the game. The Indians closed the first half on a 9-3 run to trail by just one, 23-22.
The Indians started the second half the same way, quickly scoring 12 straight points out of the locker room to build a 34-23 lead after Newport connected on a mid-range jumper midway through the third quarter.
But a 3-point shot by Sunbright's Eli Daniels sparked the Tigers, who closed the third quarter on a 9-2 run to cut the gap to three points.
Sunbright's surge continued in the fourth, and the Tigers briefly took the lead at 46-45 on a basket by Swint.
But then Sharp crushed Sunbright's hopes of an upset. After starting 1-of-10 from 3-point range, Sharp quickly made three consecutive long-range jumpers, sparking the Indians to a 54-49 lead that they would not relinquish.
ONEIDA (63): Cage West 18, Josh Sharp 14, Zeke Newport 12, Michael Jeffers 7, Bryant Harper 7, Jordan Freels 5.
SUNBRIGHT (55): Jacob Swint 16, Noah Freels 15, Eli Daniel 12, Landon Ladd 5, Luke Daniel 3, Trenton Brown 2, Mason Hooper 2.