CLINTON — Oneida could seldom do more than watch as Scott High standout Stephen Butts knocked down big shot after big shot in the second half of Friday's matchup at the Anderson County Christmas Classic, lifting the Highlanders to a 71-52 win in the two schools' first basketball meeting in eight years.
Butts scored 26 points, shooting 4 of 7 from 3-point range and 6 of 8 from the free throw line, as Scott turned a 6-point halftime lead into a 18-point lead in the third quarter and did not look back.
But perhaps even bigger was Jacob Myers' double-double. Myers finished with 15 points and a career-high 16 rebounds for the Highlanders.
If Butts was his usual self in Friday's contest, so was Oneida's Josh Sharp. The junior gunner hit five 3-point shots and had 17 points when he left the game with an injury in the third quarter.
Sharp collided with a Scott player and went to the locker room with a swollen eye and lacerated brow. Oneida coach Rusty Yaden said after the game that it was likely Sharp, who left with his family before the game ended to have the injury evaluated by a medical professional, would require stitches. If so, he would be unable to play Saturday's game at Anderson County.
And, if that were so, Oneida would be down a third starter. The Indians played Thursday's game against Scott without Cole West and Dalton Chambers. West, who is averaging 28 points per game this season, missed his third consecutive game as he nurses a fracture in his foot. He will miss next week's round-robin tournament at Harriman before rejoining the team in January. Chambers, slated to be the team's starting point guard, has not played this season after suffering a broken ankle in football. Like West, Chambers is expected to join the team shortly after Christmas. Junior Jed Newport is also out with a broken collarbone.
With so many injuries, Oneida has had difficulty developing an offensive rhythm inside the 3-point arch, and that was no exception Thursday. Without a strong option inside, the Indians hoisted 25 3-point shot attempts, hitting eight, for 32 percent.
Michael Jeffers knocked down a pair of treys and finished with 14 points. Zeke Newport had a team-high six rebounds and two blocked shots.
For Scott, no one scored in double figures besides Butts and Myers. Logan Lowe was held to a below-average nine points. But it was more than enough on a night when the Highlanders shot 43 percent from the field and 71 percent from the free throw line, while dominating the glass with a 39-26 rebounding advantage over the Indians.
Oneida led much of the first quarter, leading by as much as four when Sharp hit a 3-point shot to put his team ahead 10-6. The Indians led 12-11 at the end of the quarter.
Scott took its first lead early in the second quarter, putting together a 10-0 run to eventually lead 18-12. Oneida would battle back to tie the game at 18, only to see Scott go on an 11-0 run to lead 29-18.
The Indians again battled back late in the third, cutting the gap at four before Myers scored on a layup at the halftime buzzer to lead 35-29 going into the locker room.
The Highlanders quickly put the game out of reach in the third quarter, opening on a 10-4 run before Sharp knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers to cut the gap to seven. But from there things spiraled out of control in a hurry. The Highlanders closed the third quarter on an 11-2 run to lead by 18 going into the final period. Butts hit a trey at the end of the quarter to cap the run, then started the fourth quarter with another triple and a layup to push the lead to 64-41.
Friday's game was shifted from Norris Middle School to Anderson County High School in anticipation of a large crowd from Scott County. The two teams' fan bases did not disappoint, giving Anderson County High what was by far its largest crowd through the first two days of the tournament. The game went off without incident, however; fans and players alike were cordial with one another. In fact, tempers never flared on the court — sometimes unusual in games viewed as high-intensity rivalry games. Afterwards, Oneida and Scott players shook hands again without incident.
Some viewed Friday's game as a litmus test for whether the two teams can play in the regular season. While officials from both schools and both school districts have been mum on the notion, coaches have indicated that they would not oppose a regular matchup between the two schools. Prior to Friday's game, the two teams had last met in a 2005 Christmas tournament at McCreary County High School. Scott won that one, 69-36.
SCOTT (71): Stephen Butts 26, Jacob Myers 15, Logan Lowe 9, Caleb Crabtree 7, Ryne Muse 4, Jacob Storey 3, Jordan Chambers 2, Devon Lowe 2, Jeremiah Adkins 2, Malaki Ellis 1.
ONEIDA (52): Josh Sharp 17, Michael Jeffers 14, Jordan Freels 8, Bryant Harper 5, Tanner Sexton 2, Lorgan Marlow 2, Zeke Newport 2, Cage West 2.