Oneida: Developing a winning habit

Chancery Botts is fouled on a shot attempt during Oneida's win over Sunbright at OHS Gymnasium on Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018. (Sarah Dunlap/IH)
Chancery Botts is fouled on a shot attempt during Oneida's win over Sunbright at OHS Gymnasium on Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018. (Sarah Dunlap/IH)

ROCKWOOD — Teams don’t ordinarily win basketball games by hitting just five field goals inside the 3-point arch. But Friday’s District 3-A game here was not an ordinary game for Oneida, which found a way to gut out a 39-34 victory over an upset-minded Rockwood team on a night when points were at a premium.

Rockwood, led by longtime and well-known coach Paul Kamikawa, schemed Oneida well, controlling the tempo and shutting down the Indians’ post game. The Tigers, in fact, were able to limit Oneida to four points from its big guys in the paint, Logan Stephens and Dalton Yancey.

But the Indians found just enough points to pull out the victory, knocking down eight of their 11 free throw attempts and hitting seven 3-point shots.

It was the last two 3-pointers by the Indians that mattered most. Down 32-30 as the fourth quarter began, Oneida took the lead on a three by sophomore Elijah West 90 seconds in to the final period, and never trailed again. While Rockwood was able to tie the game on a free throw by Nate Brackett with five minutes remaining, the Indians found another 3-pointer from junior Chancery Botts on the ensuing possession to take the lead for good.

Frustrated by Rockwood’s stifling defense, Oneida chose to slow the tempo itself in the game’s waning minutes, and were able to take substantial time off the clock in doing so. The Indians then made three of four free throw attempts in the game’s final half-minute, while seeing Rockwood miss four shots that could have tied the game.

While Rockwood’s defense certainly contributed to the game’s unusually low score, so did Oneida’s. The Indians locked down the interior in their own right, which proved especially important after both Stephens and Yancey got into foul trouble in the second half. With both post players assessed their fourth fouls, the Indians were still able to prevent Rockwood from taking advantage in the paint with a decided size advantage that featured big men Ryan McCain and Kaleb Garrett.

Early on, it looked as though the Indians would control the game. Oneida jumped to a 14-7 lead in the first quarter. But Rockwood was inspired in the second quarter. The Tigers fed off a rowdy crowd and played with a chip on their shoulder, storming back to take a two-point lead to the intermission.

Oneida shot 38 percent from the field and was limited to just 12 attempts inside the 3-point line.

Rockwood, by contrast, managed 29 attempts inside the 3-point line, but hit just 10 of them on a night that saw the Indians limit the Tigers to 29 percent shooting. The Tigers’ perimeter game was non-existent; they hit just one of nine 3-point attempts.

Despite giving up 10 offensive rebounds, Oneida out-rebounded Rockwood 26-18.

The win improved the Indians to 5-2 in District 3-A play, solidifying their third place position in the district standings. They were to have faced Wartburg in a key district game on Tuesday.

ONEIDA (39): Kazee 10, Botts 9, Bowling 6, E. West 6, Branstetter 4, Stephens 2, Yancey 2.

ROCKWOOD (34): Brackeett 16, McCain 6, Nuckols 4, Price 4, Deck 2, Garrett 2.

Oneida 69, Sunbright 50: The Indians’ first game back from Christmas proved to be no problem on Tuesday, Jan. 2, as they ran away with a 69-50 district win over Sunbright at OHS Gymnasium.

While the game was close for a quarter, the Indians took charge after that, eventually leading by as much as 29 points before calling off the dogs in the fourth quarter. They were able to control the game through the offensive effort of Zac Kazee, who finished with 29 points to lead all scorers.

Kazee had seven in the first quarter, but Sunbright managed to keep it close, and trailed just 18-17 as the second quarter began.

But the Indians went on a 19-5 run in the second quarter, with nine more points from Kazee and 3-pointers by Dawson Branstetter and Chancery Botts to build a 37-22 halftime lead.

The third quarter was more of the same from Oneida, as the Indians saw Kazee score nine more and went on a 21-7 run to widen the lead to 29 points.

Oneida hit cruise control in the fourth quarter, allowing Sunbright to go on a 21-11 run of its own.

ONEIDA (69): Kazee 29, Yancey 8, Stephens 8, Botts 7, E. West 6, Branstetter 5, Bowling 4, Morgan 2.

SUNBRIGHT (50): Bunch 12, Langley 10, Freels 8, Cooper 6, Freytag 6, Bohanan 5, Brown 3.