The old adage “defense wins championships” was on full display Saturday night on The Reservation as the Lady Indians used a stingy effort on the defensive end to advance to Tuesday night’s District 3-A championship game. Despite a cold shooting start, the defense limited Midway to a mere 6 points early, allowing the offense time to heat up. Once the O heated up, it was all she wrote as Oneida went on a 45-6 run to put the game away en route to the 30-point victory, 49-19.
With the victory, Oneida improved to 19-6 overall and advances to the District 3-A championship game for the third straight year — a rematch of the 2020 game as the Lady Indians will play Wartburg (an upset winner at Sunbright on Saturday).
Leading the tribe to victory were seniors Gracie Martin and Katelyn Stiltner and their reliable cast of Kelsey Pike, Jacey Manis, Caroline Bell, Emily Wisner, Braelyn Russ, Raylie Bush, and Faith Cross. Martin hit three huge triples in going for a game-high 11 points while pulling down four rebounds and dishing out two assists. Stiltner had a dominant third period (six points and eight rebounds), a frame in which Oneida outscored Midway 20-2, to finish the night just short of a double-double, with eight points, 14 rebounds, two steals, and two blocks. The quartet of Pike, Manis, Bell, and Russ would each score six points in a variety of ways. Pike used the drive to score her six while pulling down three rebounds. Russ buried two triples to score her six. Manis used the fast break to score her six (all in the third) while pulling down three rebounds, dishing out two assists, and recording two steals. Bell used her length to create opportunities in the paint and on the break to score her six. Cross had a ginormous fourth period as she scored five points, pulled two rebounds, and recorded six steals in the frame. Despite only scoring a lone free throw, Wisner made a difference on the defensive end as she pulled off acts of thievery on seven occasions. She also dished out four assists.
It took the Lady Indians nearly six minutes to score but once they got untracked it was game, set, match. Trailing 6-0 at the 2-minute left to play in the first Oneida finally got on the board as Martin buried a triple. Pike then knocked down a pair from the stripe before a Bell 15-footer just before the period ended gave Oneida a 7-6 lead after one.
The D kept the clamps on the Green Wave in the second as a few more shots fell. All-told Oneida would outscore Midway 13-4 in the second to take a 20-10 lead into the break. It was Martin leading the way with five points (3+2). Russ came off the bench to bury a triple, Pike and Stiltner finally got a shot to fall in the paint, and Wisner knocked down 1 of 2 at the stripe.
Oneida put the game away in the third (20-2 run to take a 40-12 lead into the fourth) as Stiltner and Manis had themselves a quarter, scoring a combined 12 points with Stiltner pulling eight rebounds (mostly offensive) in the frame. Wisner’s D set the tone as her thievery set up Manis on the break for three easy buckets. Stiltner crashed the offensive glass and hit three 10- to 15-footers for her six points. Oneida got big 3-pointers from Russ and Martin while Pike slashed her way through traffic for a deuce.
The fourth period was a mere formality as Bell quickly put to bed any faint hopes Midway had with four quick points to put Oneida up 44-12. From there, Coach Marv West would empty his bench (allowing all 13 girls in uniform to see the court). Cross took full advantage of her time against the Midway starters, scoring five points powered by her six steals to help the Lady Indians to the 49-19 victory.
ONEIDA (49): Russ 6, Pike 6, Manis 6, Bell 6, Cross 5, Martin 11, Stiltner 8, and Wisner 1.
MIDWAY (19): Nickell 2, Kile 4, Patterson 7, and Cowell 6.