After falling behind by 18 points in the first half, Oliver Springs’ quest for a second upset win in as many nights was not to be Tuesday night, as Oneida pulled out a 63-48 win on its home court.
Cole West and Josh Sharp teamed up for 41 points, and senior big man Zeke Newport recorded his first career double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds, as the Indians avenged last year’s season-ending loss to the Bobcats on the same floor.
Oneida, which improved to 5-0 in District 4-A play and remained the district’s last unbeaten team with Tuesday’s win, had last faced Oliver Springs when the sixth-seeded Bobcats stunned the third-seeded Indians on the same court in the opening round of the 2013 district tournament.
Oliver Springs entered Tuesday’s game again upset-minded, having previously handed Jellico its only district loss of the season and fresh off Monday’s 54-53 win over Wartburg, which ended with a miraculous put-back of a missed shot at the final horn.
Taylor Murray played a big game for the Bobcats, with 24 points and 11 rebounds, but the Bobcats’ shooting woes — they shot 37 percent from the field and 52 percent, 11 of 21, from the free throw line — proved too much to overcome.
The home court was kind to Oneida, meanwhile, as the Indians shot a season-high 54 percent, including six of 10 3-point shots, and finished 13 of 14 from the free throw line.
All six 3-pointers came courtesy of junior wing man Josh Sharp, who finished six-of-nine from beyond the arch and scored 20 points for the Indians. His shooting helped Oneida to a 31-13 halftime advantage.
But Tony Ingram’s team would rally to start the second half. In a balanced attack featuring Murray, Shelby Morgan and Tyler Nation, the Bobcats scored the first nine points of the second half, quickly cutting the deficit to 31-22.
While Oliver Springs would get no closer than nine points, the Bobcats refused to go away. Oneida expanded the lead to 14 at the end of the third quarter and led by as much as 16 early in the fourth, but Oliver Springs again rallied to cut the deficit to 10.
A Sharp 3-point shot with 2:49 remaining iced it for the Indians, giving Oneida a 55-42 lead.
ONEIDA (63): Cole West 21, Josh Sharp 20, Zeke Newport 10, Cage West 6, Tanner Sexton 2, Bryant Harper 2, Michael Jeffers 2.
OLIVER SPRINGS (48): Taylor Murray 24, Colin Moss 11, Shelby Morgan 10, Justin Nation 2, Markus Miller 1.