OLIVER SPRINGS — Before the season started, Oneida head coach Marv West sought to dispel the notion that District 3-A would be a runaway by the Lady Indians and their nemesis Wartburg, pointing out that Oliver Springs was in a position to play a spoiler’s role after upsetting the Bulldogs in last season’s district tournament.
And on Friday night in their old-fashioned Roane County gym, the Bobcats showed why they have the attention of West and other coaches in District 3, standing toe-to-toe with the Lady Indians through the first two quarters.
Ultimately, though, Oneida simply had too many weapons for Oliver Springs to contain, pulling away for a 53-37 over the Bobcats.
Kendyl West finished 17 points to lead Oneida, while freshman Kelsey Pike had 13 and Jayden Thomas had 12, as the Lady Indians turned a 25-25 halftime tie into a relatively comfortable win.
The third quarter was big for the Lady Indians, who out-scored Oliver Springs 19-4 coming out of the locker room to start the second half. The lead swelled to over 20 points in the fourth quarter before Oneida began to coast in the game’s waning minutes.
Oliver Springs never called off the dogs, continuing to press throughout. With 13 seconds left and down by 16, the Bobcats intentionally fouled to stop the clock and send Oneida to the free throw line.
Oneida improved to 3-0 in district play with the win, and still has not been seriously challenged. That was expected to change on Tuesday, when Wartburg visited OHS Gymnasium. The two teams are widely regarded to be the best in District 3-A, and Tuesday’s game was a potential preview of the district championship game that looms in February, though several teams — including Oliver Springs — plan to have a say in that.
The Lady Indians shot 49 percent from the field in Friday’s game, and was a remarkable 52 percent — 11 of 21 — from 3-point range. West and Thomas each had four 3-pointers.
Oneida will conclude the pre-Christmas portion of its schedule tomorrow (Friday) by visiting defending district champion Midway.
ONEIDA (53): West 17, Pike 13, Thomas 12, Terry 5, Newport 4, Wisner 2.
OLIVER SPRINGS (37): Gilmore 9, Jones 8, Tarver 6, Co. Chasten 5, Hester 5, Johnson 4.