OAKDALE — Sometimes a final score is not indicative of how close a game is.
Friday was one of those games for Oneida, as the Indians overcame a six-point halftime deficit and survived upset-minded Oakdale, 88-79.
Cole West scored a career-high 37 points and Josh Sharp hit five 3-pointers to finish with 20, and the Indians needed everyone of those points to maintain a two-game lead in the District 4-A standings.
The up-and-coming Eagles — who do not have a starter older than a sophomore — went cold late in the game, but led until early in the fourth quarter.
Freshman Maverick Smith finished with 25 for Oakdale, while Tyler Steinmetz finished with 21.
Both teams shot well, with the Indians shooting 63 percent in each half and Oakdale finishing 49 percent after shooting 58 percent through the first three quarters.
West continued the torrid pace he has been on of late. The senior, who is averaging 30 points per game in district play, shot 16 of 21 from the field.
For much of the game, though, Oakdale's standout freshman matched him blow-for-blow. The tied began to shift in the fourth quarter, when Oneida switched to a triangle-and-two defense that the Indians used to effectively corral Jellico's star backcourt in a pair of wins that vaulted them to the top of the district standings.
Oakdale benefited from being called for only one foul in the first half, out-shooting Oneida 8-0 at the free throw line. With the contingent of Oneida fans in attendance at Oakdale pleading for a call early in the fourth quarter, OHS coach Rusty Yaden was tagged with a technical foul — his first of the season — after questioning an official's call.
From there, though, the foul tally evened, and Oneida finished 9 of 13 from the free throw line.
The win left Oneida needing one win in a pair of games against Coalfield (Monday, Tuesday) to seal the No. 1 seed in the district tournament. The Yellow Jackets, who will host the Indians on Monday and travel north on Tuesday, still have aspirations of earning the district's top seed themselves.
ONEIDA (88): Cole West 37, Josh Sharp 20, Cage West 14, Zeke Newport 11, Bryant Harper 6, Michael Jeffers 2, Jordan Freels 2.
OAKDALE (79): Maverick Smith 25, Tyler Steinmetz 21, Landon Botkin 12, Colyer Hicks 9, Brady Bingham 7, Matthew Abernathy 3.