Survive and advance. That is the name of the game in the postseason. The Oneida Lady Indians did just that Thursday night on The Reservation.
Apparently, Oakdale didn’t get the memo that they were supposed to go meekly, as the eighth-seeded Lady Eagles had several opportunities to pull even or take the lead down the stretch against the top-seeded Lady Indians. In the end, despite only shooting 32% and turning the ball over 15 times, Oneida found a way (that’s what good teams do) to eek out a 47-42 victory a week after beating the Lady Eagles 58-27 (actually led 45-35 late after pulling away from 32-30 lead late in the third).
With the victory, Oneida improved to 18-6 and advances to the District 3-A semifinals to host Midway Saturday at 6:30 p.m. The other District 3-A semifinal game will feature Wartburg at Sunbright. The win also ensured the Lady Indians would yet again make the region.
Helping the Lady Indians pull away late was senior Jacey Manis. Manis buried a huge triple and two charity tosses early in the fourth to put Oneida up 39-30. On the night, Manis would be the only player to reach double figures with 12 points. She also pulled in two boards and dished out two assists. Kelsey Pike would finish up the night with nine points, three boards, one assist, and two steals. Just missing a triple-double was Gracie Martin. Martin would finish the night with an impressive stat line: seven points, 10 boards, nine assists, and four steals. Despite being constantly hammered in the paint, Katelyn Stiltner just missed a double-double as she scored eight points and pulled 10 boards. Emily Wisner and Caroline Bell also came up big on the night as Wisner finished with five points, four boards, and three steals while Bell scored four points, pulled three boards, and recorded a steal. Oneida’s remaining two points came via a Braelyn Russ layup.
The game started off on the right foot for Oneida as Wisner buried a triple right out the gate as the Lady Indians appeared ready to cruise, building a 15-7 lead after one. In the frame, Stiltner powered up two buckets (four points), Manis, Martin, and Wisner would bury triples, and Caroline Bell converted a steal in a breakaway layup.
Defensive lapses and poor shooting would plague the Lady Indians throughout the remainder of the game, starting in the second period. Oneida would give up 11 points while only scoring 11 points —maintaining their 8-point lead, 26-18. In the frame, Pike would dial a shot from long distance while Manis, Stiltner, Bell, and Russ would all hit one bucket apiece.
The third period was all Oakdale as the Lady Eagles would pull to within two points on two occasions at 28-26 and 32-30 (with many chances to tie or take the lead) before the Lady Indians would right the ship so to speak to take a 34-30 lead into the fourth. In the frame, Pike, Manis, and Wisner would each hit a bucket while Stiltner knocked down a pair of charity tosses.
The trio of Manis, Martin, and Pike would help Oneida keep Oakdale at bay in the fourth, allowing the Lady Indians to escape with the 47-42 victory and move on. It was the Manis show early in the fourth as she buried a huge triple and knocked down a pair of free throws to help the Lady Indians push their lead to nine points, 39-30. Pike would then work the paint for a pair of buckets to help Oneida maintain their lead as the Lady Indians would lead 43-35 once Pike was done with her damage. Martin would close out the night with a short J and a pair of charity tosses, helping build the lead to 10 points at 45-35 before Oakdale hit a 3-point at the buzzer to pull the game back to within the final margin of 5 points.
ONEIDA (47): Russ 2, Pike 9, Manis 12, Bell 4, Martin 7, Stiltner 8, and Wisner 5.
OAKDALE (42): Tilson 11, Miller 15, Hamby 2, Jones 4, and Hicks 10.