MURFREESBORO — Oneida’s Lady Indians had an answer for just about everything they faced this season. But on Thursday, they didn’t have an answer for Karly Weathers.
Weathers scored 21 second half points en route to a game-high 23 (and 14 rebounds), powering a second half explosion by Loretto that saw the Mustangs pull away for a 59-40 win over the Lady Indians in the Class A state quarterfinals.
Loretto, which featured the state’s best record at 32-1 and out-sized Oneida at almost every position, gave the Lady Indians fits with their length in the first quarter. Oneida shot just eight percent — 1 of 13 — and had five shots blocked as the Mustangs charged to a 16-4 lead.
But once Oneida settled in, the Lady Indians won the second quarter. In fact, they cut the lead to as close as four points at 20-16 and trailed by just seven, 27-20, at the half. In doing so, they played exceptional defense on Weathers, limiting the freshman Miss Basketball finalist to just two points.
Weathers found her groove in the second half, however. She had 16 points in the third quarter alone, powering Loretto to a 22-10 run that saw the Mustangs take complete control.
Weathers is just a freshman, but comes from a family with athletic pedigree. Her father, David Weathers, is a former MLB pitcher and won a World Series ring with the New York Yankees in 1996. Her brother, Ryan Weathers, also a pitcher, was drafted by MLB’s San Diego Padres in 2018 and currently plays in the Minor League.
Loretto advanced to face defending state champion Greenfield on Friday.
Oneida was led in scoring in Thursday’s game by Kendyl West. The junior had 12 points. In her final game, senior Shay Buttram knocked down three 3-point shots — including one at the final horn — and finished with nine points. Fellow senior Logan Lamb got in on the scoring action with four points, including a late fourth quarter bucket.
For the game, Oneida shot just 25 percent from the field. Loretto shot 43 percent.
Both teams shot well from the free throw line, with Loretto shooting 93 percent and Oneida shooting 85 percent.
The loss ended Oneida’s season at 26-9. It was the Lady Indians’ 17th appearance in the state tournament, and their first since 2005.
With the return of most of their top players, the Lady Indians will enter the 2019-2020 season as a favorite to make another run at the state tournament. In District 3-A, Midway and Sunbright each lose three starters to graduation. On the opposite side of the region, Tellico Plains also loses considerable starting experience.
ONEIDA (40): West 12, Buttram 9, Stiltner 8, Martin 4, Lamb 4, Boyatt 3.
LORETTO (59): Ka. Weathers 23, Welch 15, McBee 7, Chadwell 6, Ke. Weathers 4, Ridgeway 2, Chance 2.