Oneida coach Marv West chats with his players during  a fourth quarter timeout at Cosby Saturday, Feb. 1, 2013. (Independent Herald photo/Melanie Garrett)
Oneida coach Marv West chats with his players during a fourth quarter timeout at Cosby Saturday, Feb. 1, 2013. (Independent Herald photo/Melanie Garrett)

 

COSBY, Tenn. — Oneida's road trip continued Saturday with a trip to Cocke County near the Tennessee-North Carolina border, and it ended well for the Lady Indians, who returned from the Smokies to the Cumberlands with a 44-38 over Cosby.

Micah Stephens finished with 15 points and eight rebounds to pace Oneida, which surged ahead in the third quarter, then held on in a knuckle-biter that was not decided until the final horn.

In the first half, Cosby's long-armed defense was able to frustrate Oneida by denying ball entry to the post, while the Lady Eagles were able to find ways to penetrate Oneida's 2-3 zone for points on the offensive end.

As a result, Cosby — one of East Tennessee's premier Class A women's programs — took a 22-17 lead to the intermission, and led by as much as eight early in the third quarter.

But Oneida's defensive adjustments flipped the momentum quickly. After combining for 18 points in the first half, Cosby's Dessie Shaffer and Lekley Williams would score just five in the second half, while Oneida forced a total of 21 turnovers.

The Lady Indians, meanwhile, turned the ball over just eight times in the second half after a 16-turnover first half, and began to find ways to get the ball to Stephens on the low block.

As a team, Oneida shot 42 percent from the field while limiting Cosby to 30 percent.

The Lady Indians were held without a field goal for the final 5:41 of the first half — they got off just 15 shot attempts in the first 16 minutes against Cosby's frustrating defense — but surged to the lead in the third quarter behind a 3-point shot by Baylee Newport between field goals by Stephens and Victoria Williams.

Cosby responded with a 3-point shot from Shaffer to regain the lead, but Oneida answered with back-to-back buckets from Newport and Jessi Morgan and led for the remainder of the third quarter.

But there was still plenty of drama left for the fourth. The two teams exchanged the lead four times in the first two minutes of the final period before a 3-point shot by Destini Carson gave Oneida the lead for good. The Lady Indians added buckets from Kelsie Caldwell and Stephens to push the lead to six with 4:19 to play, and Cosby was unable to recover.

Oneida will end its road trip Monday at Coalfield, and play its last regular season home game Tuesday, also against Coalfield.

ONEIDA (44): Micah Stephens 15, Baylee Newport 9, Jessi Morgan 6, Kelsie Caldwell 4, Destini Carson 3, Rachael Thomas 3, Shelby Thompson 2, Victoria Williams 2.

COSBY (38): Dessie Shaffer 15, Bethanie Williams 10, Lekley Williams 8, Sarah Conrad 3, Brooke Schreder 2.