HARRIMAN — A tough holiday slate for an injury-riddled Oneida basketball squad got even tougher here Friday evening, where Rockwood turned a 13-6 first quarter deficit into a 63-32 knockout of the Indians in a potential preview of the Region 2-A Tournament.
Jarrod Neerman scored 15 points and Josh Neerman added 12 as Rockwood used its pressing, in-your-face defense to frustrate the Indians early and often.
A 13-0 run in the first quarter proved to be one of the few highlights of the evening for the Indians, who led 13-6 after the first quarter but saw Rockwood surge back to quickly grab the lead for good in the second period.
Oneida played mostly reserves in the second half, once Rockwood had gone ahead by 20 points, which allowed the Tigers to make the game look even more lopsided than it already was.
The Tigers forced Oneida into 31 turnovers on the evening, limited the Indians to 24 percent shooting, and held a 42-30 rebounding advantage by game's end.
Rockwood jumped out to a 6-0 start, prompting an early time out by Oneida coach Rusty Yaden. Thereafter, the Indians scored 13 straight points, keyed by two Tanner Sexton 3-oint shots, to lead 13-6 after the first quarter.
Sexton finished with a team-hihg eight points, while Zeke Newport and Michael Jeffers each added six, all in the first half.
Newport was a force in the middle for Oneida in the first half, pulling in six rebounds and blocking four shots. Nevertheless, the Tigers were able to take the lead for good on a shot by Case Miller, which put them ahead 21-20, with just under two minutes to play in the first half.
The deficit was a manageable 25-20 at halftime, but things were only going to get rougher for Oneida in the third quarter. A Jordan Freels jumper nearly two minutes into the third quarter cut the lead to five, 27-22, before Rockwood went on a 16-0 run in three minutes to lead 43-22. At that point, a frustrated Yaden turned to his bench, apparently opting to regroup for Saturday morning's game against state tournament candidate Hampton.
Oneida's had struggled to find an offensive rhythm in Thursday's loss to Harriman in the same tournament, but those woes only intensified in Friday's game. After Freels' bucket two minutes into the third quarter, which cut the deficit to 27-22, Oneida would not make another field goal until Cole Buttram scored with 1:09 remaining in the game to cut the gap to 61-32 — an incredible stretch of more than 13 minutes.
ONEIDA (32): Tanner Sexton 8, Zeke Newport 6, Michael Jeffers 6, Dalton Chambers 4, Cole Buttram 4, Cage West 2, Jordan Freels 2.
ROCKWOOD (63): Jarrod Neerman 15, Josh Neerman 12, Malcolm Springs 8, Jordan Breazeale 6, Case Miller 6, Jay Tilley 5, Austin Cooper 3, Drake Long 2, Jared Malicoat 2, Jason Gaus 2, Jacob Wilson 2.