COALFIELD — Oneida turned in its worst quarter of the season here out of the gate Monday, spotting the Yellow Jackets an 18-point lead in a game that saw the District 4-A regular season championship hanging in the balance.
Then the Indians turned in three quarters — and four minutes — of their best ball of the season, slowly crawling back to force overtime, where they finally beat Coalfield 82-79.
Cole West scored the 2,000th point of his career — it came with three minutes to play in the third quarter, when West hit a jumper to cut an 8-point Yellow Jacket lead to six — and finished with 25 points and 8 rebounds to lead five Indians in double figures.
Zeke Newport finished with a double-double, with 11 points and 12 rebounds, before fouling out early in the overtime period. And Josh Sharp made three big 3-point shots en route to a 13-point performance.
But it was Tanner Sexton who made a huge impact in the second quarter. Sexton, who finished with a career-high 16 points, came off the bench with Oneida trailing 22-4 going into the second and scored 10 points in eight minutes, including two straight 3-point shots, to breathe life into the Indians.
Oneida had trimmed the lead to eight by halftime, 36-28, and kept the peddle to the floor in the second half.
The Indians took their first lead of the game with 6:36 to play, when West hit two free throws. Oneida would go on to lead by as much as six in the fourth quarter, but Coalfield had a rally of its own in store.
The ‘Jackets, who entered the night still entertaining aspirations of capturing the district’s top seed themselves, saw Ryan Hill do what he does best: find a way to score points.
Hill, who finished with 37 points and 9 rebounds, powered Coalfield back in front by a point with just seconds to play.
But Newport forced overtime by hitting the second of two free throws with five seconds left.
Oneida never trailed in overtime. A 3-point shot by Sharp got things started, and the Indians hit enough free throws to keep themselves in front. At one point, Oneida led by five, 78-73, but two improbable 3-pointers by Hill pulled Coalfield to within one, 80-79, with 14 seconds to play. But Sexton hit two free throws, and Oneida forced a length-of-the-court 3-point shot attempt by Jacob Ariaz that bounced harmlessly off the backboard.
The two teams will meet again in Oneida Tuesday evening.
ONEIDA (82): Cole West 25, Tanner Sexton 16, Josh Sharp 13, Cage West 12, Zeke Newport 11, Jordan Freels 2, Bryant Harper 2, Michael Jeffers 1.
COALFIELD (79): Ryan Hill 37, Jason Lee 22, Peyton Hensley 11, David Hall 5, Nathan Johnson 4.