Close. If there was a single word to describe the third week of the high school basketball season for Oneida, that would be it.
So the Indians, after having an opportunity to overcome an experienced and talented Clarkrange team in Fentress County on Monday and coming up just short of a significant upset of York Institute on Tuesday, were looking to get over the hump when the Buffaloes came to town for a rematch of Monday’s game on Friday evening.
But Clarkrange spoiled those plans, building a 19-point lead en route to a 59-46 win over the Indians.
Oneida had its moments, particularly in the second quarter. After spotting the Buffaloes an 18-4 lead early, the Indians stormed back to cut the lead to four points. Then, after Clarkrange had widened the gap to 10, the Indians again cut it to four.
But Oneida could get no closer than that, and Clarkrange used a big third quarter, out-scoring the Indians 21-10, to take control of the game.
Zak Kazee had 18 points for Oneida, but no other Indian had more than seven. The Buffaloes’ Briley Stephens had 20 points despite being limited by foul problems, and led three Clarkrange players in double figures.
The story was mostly Clarkrange’s defense. The Buffaloes used a discipline zone approach to take away Oneida’s post game and force the Indians into shots from the perimeter that simply would not fall. Oneida finished three of 16 from 3-point range.
Oneida did a good job of getting to the free throw line, hitting 15 of 24 attempts. But Clarkrange was able to negate that advantage by hitting almost all of its free throws. The Buffaloes were 11 of 12 from the line, shooting 92 percent.
One of the brightest spots for the Indians was on the glass. Oneida out-rebounded Clarkrange 29-20, with Logan Stephens’ seven boards leading the way.
CLARKRANGE (59): Stephens 20, Monday 13, Ni. Hall 11, Michalski 9, Phillips 4, Bilbrey 2.
ONEIDA (46): Kazee 18, Yancey 7, Stephens 5, Botts 4, Branstetter 3, D. West 3, Clark 2, Carroll 2.
York 54, Oneida 52: Looking to make a statement against a team few would’ve expected them to beat, the Indians jumped to an eight-point lead against York Institute at OHS Gymnasium on Tuesday, Nov. 28, only to see the Dragons storm back in the second half to pull off the narrowest of wins, 54-52.
Oneida had an opportunity to win on the game’s final shot, which came up just off the mark. Zak Kazee scored 21 points to lead the Indians’ upset bid.
The Indians led 15-12 after the first quarter and out-scored York 17-12 in the second quarter to build the eight-point lead at halftime.
But York limited the Indians to just 20 second half points, slowly coming back to take the lead and pull off the win.
YORK (54): Moody 12, Leffew 10, Peavyhouse 8, Smith 6, Meadows 6, Christianson 2.
ONEIDA (52): Kazee 21, Yancey 9, Botts 7, Stephens 6, Burchfield 4, Branstetter 3, D. West 2.