HARRIMAN — Down one starter with another limited by illness was a scenario too tough for Oneida to overcome on Tuesday, as the Lady Indians fell to Midway in the District 3-A championship game, 61-55.
Oneida led by as much as 11 points in the first half, only to see the Green Wave battle back to tie the game at halftime. Midway then seemed to be on the verge of running away with the game in the third quarter, before Oneida battled back and eventually took the lead back in the fourth quarter.
But, in the end, the Green Wave were able to survive with stingy fourth quarter defense. Oneida sophomore Katelyn Stiltner had 15 points through three quarters, but after hitting a shot to give the Lady Indians the lead at the outset of the fourth quarter, Midway was able to lock down the low post, not allowing Stiltner quality touches down the stretch.
Ultimately, Midway was able to shoot the ball well, connecting on more than six out of every 10 shots from inside the perimeter, and finishing with a 52 percent shooting percentage. Oneida, on the other hand, shot an uncharacteristically-low 40 percent.
Oneida had a 29-20 rebounding edge, including a 12-1 advantage on the offensive glass, but were not fully able to take advantage.
More importantly, the Green Wave had only 12 turnovers. On average, the Lady Indians force their opponents into more than 20 turnovers per game.
While Stiltner led the Lady Indians in scoring with 17, along with eight rebounds, Chelsea Newport came up big for Oneida — particularly in the third quarter. The junior finished with 14 points. Sophomore Gracie Martin, who is perfect from the free throw line in the postseason, came off the bench to score 10 points and grab seven rebounds.
Midway’s Caitlyn Ross, the district’s player of the year, scored 20 points to lead the Green Wave. Emily Cawood added 17 points and was big in the third quarter.
Following Tuesday’s game, Oneida senior Shay Buttram, junior Chelsea Newport and sophomore Katelyn Stiltner were named to the all-tournament team.
The loss placed Oneida on the same side of the Region 2-A tournament bracket as Tellico Plains, the District 4-A champion, which is ranked No. 6 in the state and will host Oliver Springs on Friday.
The Lady Indians will host Sale Creek on Friday. If both win, Oneida will face Tellico Plains at Roane State Community College on Monday.
ONEIDA (55): Stiltner 17, Newport 14, Martin 10, Those 6, Lamb 4, Wisner 2, Buttram 2.
MIDWAY (61): Ross 20, Cawood 17, Lemaster 7, Bacon 4, Prinzi 4, Taylor 4, Norman 1.