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Oneida pulls away from determined Sunbright team to remain unbeaten in district play

Oneida senior Nathan Bowling gets to the rim during the Indians’ 62-51 win over Sunbright at OHS Gymnasium on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021 | Sarah Dunlap/IH

Sunbright proved to be a formidable opponent Friday night on The Reservation, but in the end the duo of Kolby Morgan and Nathan Bowling proved to be too much for the visiting Tigers. Sunbright led early before the Morgan-Bowling combination took aim and carried the Indians to a 62-51 victory.

With the win, the Indians maintained their stronghold on their District 3-A lead at the season’s midpoint, improving to 10-1 overall and 8-0 in district play. The loss dropped Sunbright to 6-7 overall, 5-3 in district play.

The Tigers jumped out to a 19-15 lead after one and actually led 24-20 before the Indians’ duo came to life. Before the half ended, Oneida would go on a 15-3 run to take a 35-27 lead into the break. The charge was spurred by Bowling with eight points and Morgan with five points. The Tigers would hang around in the third, cutting the Indian lead to five points heading into the fourth, 46-41. However, Sunbright would get no closer, as Morgan and his cast of scorers held the Tigers at bay, pulling away to win the contest, 62-51.

Oneida senior Kolby Morgan scores during the Indians’ 62-51 win over Sunbright at OHS Gymnasium on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021 | Sarah Dunlap/IH

On the night, the duo of Morgan and Bowling would combine to score 45 points. Morgan finished with 23 points, including three big 3-pointers, and Bowling finished with 22 points — including 18 points in the first half and four 3-pointers. Noah Buttram also came up big in the paint, pulling key rebounds and finishing the night with seven points. Oneida’s remaining 10 points came via six big fourth period points, three each from Mason Keeton and Jacob Perry and two points each from Jeric Huling and Reece Marcum.

Oneida struggled a bit finding the hole in the first period, allowing the Tigers to build a 4-point lead, 19-15, after one. In the frame, it was the duo of Bowling and Morgan using the long ball and the charity stripe as all 15 points in the period came via the 3-ball and FTs. Bowling would hit two triples and a pair from the stripe to score eight points, Morgan buried a triple and a pair from the stripe, and Marcum capped things off with a pair from the stripe as well.

The Indians would fall behind 24-20 in the second before Bowling went off with help from Morgan and Buttram. Buttram would score three points early in the frame and Bowling hit a pair from the stripe to keep things close before the Indians exploded with a 15-3 lead to take a 35-27 lead into the break. Bowling strong-armed the rally with eight points, including two 3s, Morgan scored five points, and Buttram hit a bucket.

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Things became very defensive in the third as the Indians only managed to score 11 points, allowing Sunbright to cut the lead to a mere five points at 46-41. In the frame, for the third straight period, Morgan would bury a triple and 2 charity tosses to lead the way. Bowling finished his night scoring-wise with 4 points, and Oneida’s remaining bucket came via a Huling fastbreak.

Morgan would put to bed any thoughts Sunbright had of rallying in the fourth as he nearly matched their point total, scoring eight points to help the Indians to the 62-51 victory. The Indians’ remaining eight points came via a bucket and charity toss by Perry, 3 charity tosses from Keeton, and a bucket from Buttram.

ONEIDA (62): Keeton 3, Huling 2, Buttram 7, Morgan 23, Bowling 22, Perry 3, and Marcum 2.

SUNBRIGHT (51): Nitzschke 10, Freytag 3, Smith 11, Freels 4, Branstetter 11, and Freels 12.

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