Oneida put together one of its best offensive performances of the season at OHS Gymnasium Monday night, surging in the second quarter to a lead that it would not relinquish in a 67-54 win over arch-rival Coalfield.
The Lady Indians, who had last lost at Coalfield last month, earned their ninth consecutive win and assured themselves of at least a second place finish in District 4-A. Oliver Springs will visit Oneida Friday for a game that could be for the No. 1 seed in the District 4-A Tournament, which begins Tuesday. Although Oneida lost by 28 at Oliver Springs in December, a win over the Bobcats Friday would force a coin flip for the top seed going into the postseason.
Micah Stephens scored 20 points and 15 rebounds to pace the Lady Indians, off-setting a 31-point, 14-rebound performance by Coalfield's Samantha Hamby.
Freshman point guard Baylee Newport had 14 points and six assists for Oneida.
Oneida shot 45 percent from the field, including 40 percent from 3-point range, while limiting the Lady Jackets to 32 percent.
Coalfield was able to use the free throw line to its advantage, hitting on 13 of 16 opportunities (81 percent).
But the Lady Indians were able to exploit Coalfield's pressing, full-court defense by turning the ball over only 11 imes and finding enough breaks to score fast-break points at crucial moments in the game, particularly after Coalfield had rallied in the fourth quarter.
After trailing by five in the first quarter, Oneida rallied to take the lead early in the second quarter on a 3-point shot by Newport. Coalfield regained the lead momentarily, only to see the Lady Indians take the lead for good on a shot by Stephens late in the period.
Oneida went on to build an 8-point lead before the break and led by as much as 15 in the third quarter before Coalfield began to rally. The Lady Jackets were able to cut the gap to six but Oneida responded with buckets by Newport and Stephens to put the game out of reach.
The top seed in the district will receive a first round bye in the tournament, while the No. 2 seed will play the No. 7 seed, which is likely to be Jellico. While tournament details were not to have been finalized until the district's coaches met on Wednesday, the first round games were expected to be satellite games, played at the higher-seeded schools, before shifting to Wartburg for the semifinals on Friday. If so, the Lady Indians would host Jellico at 7 p.m. on Feb. 12 if they do not defeat Oliver Springs on Friday.
SCORING: Oneida -- M. Stephens 20, Newport 14, Robbins 8, Caldwell 7, Morgan 6, Carson 5, Lay 5, Williams 2. Coalfield -- Hamby 31, Cox 11, Hensley 6, Layne 4, Jordan 2.