HARRIMAN — It was a place Oneida hadn’t won in 12 years.
The Indians’ last win on Harriman’s home floor was January 31, 2008. But that changed Tuesday, January 14, as Oneida defeated the Blue Devils 56-49 to move into sole possession of the District 3-A lead.
The Indians never trailed, racing to a 9-2 lead out of the gates that forced Harriman to call a time out. Oneida led by as much as 11 in the first half and by as much as 14 in the second half.
But the Blue Devils also refused to go away, trimming the lead to just three points at halftime, 29-26. After the Indians started the second half strong and got up by as much as 14, Harriman closed the third quarter on a 6-0 run to make it 47-39 as the fourth quarter began.
The Indians were sloppy at times. They had eight fourth quarter turnovers that helped Harriman hang around when the game might have otherwise been decided by a wider margin. For the game, Oneida had 22 turnovers — more than twice as many as Harriman, though the Blue Devils’ active defense had something to do with that.
But the Indians’ defense wasn’t too shabby in its own right. Harriman shot just 35 percent from the field, including 7 of 26 from 3-point range. Oneida, by contrast, shot 59 percent.
Dalton Yancey had 18 points and 9 rebounds to pace the Indians. Nathan Bowling, who had two early 3-point shots to help set the tone offensively, finished with 17. Jeric Huling added 10.
Kolby Morgan was limited to 7 points by Harriman’s defense, but had a big impact on the game. He finished with 11 rebounds.
Elijah West rounded out Oneida’s scoring, with 4 points.
The game was a battle between District 3’s last two undefeated teams. The win gives the Indians the district lead heading into the home stretch of the regular season.
Last year, Oneida lost to Harriman twice in the regular season, as well as in the district championship game. However, the Indians defeated the Blue Devils in the Region 2-A championship game at Roane State Community College a week after the district title game was played.