WARTBURG — For the first time since 2012, Oneida will not be playing in the District 4-A championship game.
Sunbright, the district's fifth-seeded team, continued its Cinderella postseason run by knocking off the top-seeded Lady Indians, 42-37, in a shocking upset here Friday evening.
The Tigers, coached by former Oneida boys' coach Rusty Yaden, frustrated the Lady Indians throughout the night with a defense that filled the passing lanes and kept Oneida off its game.
The Lady Indians did not score a field goal until the final half-minute of the first quarter and finished the game shooting just 29 percent from the field.
Oneida was also undone by an uncharacteristically poor shooting night at the free throw line, where the Lady Indians connected on just 13 of 25 tries, for 52 percent.
Sunbright was not much better at the line, shooting 14 of 25, but the Tigers forced the Lady Indians into 23 turnovers, which turned out to be the biggest storyline of the night.
Friday's game marked the third time in three games this season that Sunbright forced Oneida into more than 20 turnovers.
The first half was all Sunbright, as the Tigers jumped to a 12-6 first quarter lead, then kept building onto it in the second quarter. As a stunned crowd at Dallas R. Davis Gymnasium looked on, Sunbright ultimately built the lead to 12 points, 18-6.
After Oneida coach Marv West switched up his defense, the Lady Indians began to slowly claw back, cutting the deficit to nine points, 21-12, at the half.
Oneida looked very much like itself in the third quarter, charging back to take its first lead of the contest at the 2:00 mark of the period, when Sidney Dishman hit a pair of free throws to give her team a 26-25 lead.
The Lady Indians kept it rolling in the fourth quarter, building the lead to 35-29 when Raven Wright hit a 3-point shot with 5:29 remaining. At that point, Oneida was on a 29-11 run, and had out-scored Sunbright 23-8 in the second half. It looked like the Tigers were on the ropes.
But, as it turned out, Oneida would score just two points in the final five and a half minutes of the game, with both of them coming at the line.
The win boosted Sunbright to the District 4-A championship game to face Wartburg on Monday, while Oneida will face Coalfield in the district's consolation game at 6:30 p.m. Monday.
ONEIDA (37): Dishman 11, B. Thomas 8, Brooks 6, Bertram 6, Wright 3, Boyatt 2, Lowe 1.
SUNBRIGHT (42): Stephens 13, Bowling 10, Farmer 7, Brown 6, Northrup 4, Hamby 2.