It was supposed to be a dramatic conclusion to the regular season: Two teams battling to the wire to break a tie and determine who plays where in the first round of the District 4-A Tournament.
That was the billing for Oneida’s meeting with Oliver Springs on Monday, delayed 72 hours due to illness in Roane County. It was a rematch of a game last month that saw the Indians defeat the Bobcats in overtime.
But there would be no late-game drama in this one.
Instead, the Indians raced to a 31-12 halftime lead, led by as much as 23 points early in the third quarter, and cruised to a 55-37 win over the Bobcats.
Logan Marlow scored 15 points, and Zak Kazee had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds, as Oneida locked up the No. 5 seed in the district tournament, where the Indians will open play at Jellico tonight (Thursday).
The game was never really in doubt, as Oneida took command in the second quarter with a 19-5 run.
The Indians limited Oliver Springs to just 19 percent shooting in the first half. The Bobcats were able to pick it up in the second half, but finished the game just 25 percent shooting.
Oneida, meanwhile, was shooting better than 50 percent at the half, and shot 45 percent for the game.
Frustrated by his team’s lack of effort, Oliver Springs coach Tony Ingram benched his starters to begin the second half. Once he reinserted them, the Bobcats went on a bit of a run, trimming the lead from 23 points to 15 points late in the third period.
But Oneida closed the third on a shot by Bryson Buttram to stymie the run, and Oliver Springs was not able to get closer than 16 points the rest of the way.
The Indians enjoyed a significant rebounding edge, out-rebounding the Bobcats, 41-28. JD Thomas had nine rebounds, while Logan Marlow finished with six.
Oneida’s freshman post player, Dalton Yancey, had a nice first half, with eight points and three blocked shots. He finished with 10 points and four blocks.
Kazee had five assists to accompany his 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Oneida’s fifth-place finish is its best in District 4-A play in three seasons. The Indians will begin Thursday’s elimination game at 7 p.m.
ONEIDA (55): Marlow 15, Kazee 11, Yancey 10, Botts 5, Branstetter 4, Thomas 4, Buttram 2, Marcum 2, Payne 2.
OLIVER SPRINGS (37): Humphreys 9, Gaylor 8, Carroll 6, Melton 6, Johnson 4, White 3, Everett 1.