To borrow a line from the late John Ward: “Ladies and Gentleman, your champion is clad in Big Orange!”
The intensity level on display by the Lady Indians Tuesday night was second to none on both ends of the court. After a couple of subpar performances by their standards, Oneida came out with a focus rarely seen over the past two weeks. And that was the difference in this contest.
The Lady Indians downed a feisty Wartburg bunch for the second consecutive year in the District 3-A championship, this time by the final score of 57-44. Oneida jumped out to a 21-13 lead behind the Dawg-slaying trio of Gracie Martin, Katelyn Stiltner, and Kelsey Pike. Wartburg would rally in the second to pull to within one point at 22-21 before a 13-3 run by Oneida (including five quick points to end the half) extended the Lady Indians lead to double-figures at 35-24. The Lady Indians kept the pressure up in the third, more than doubling the Lady Dawgs up at 15-7 to take a commanding 50-31 lead into the fourth. Wartburg would not go quietly in the fourth but Oneida had built enough of a lead to hold off any rally, hanging on to the victory 57-44.
With the victory, Oneida improved to 20-6, the sixth straight season the Lady Indians have won at least 20 games. This also means that the Lady Indians will be at home throughout the region tournament as long as they continue to win. Thanks to the victory, Oneida will host CSAS on Friday night on The Reservation. Game time is TBD.
On the night, the aforementioned trio of Martin, Pike, and Stiltner absolutely dominated all 84 feet of the court. They had plenty of help in the forms of Emily Wisner, Jacey Manis, Caroline Bell, Raylie Bush, and Braelyn Russ. Martin and Stiltner would both finish the night with double-doubles. Martin would score 16 points, haul in 10 rebounds, and collect six steals. Stiltner would pump home 14 points, pull down 10 boards (seven offensive), and swatted away three shots. Pike knocked home 16 points, doled out seven assists, and recorded five steals. Wisner knocked down a pair of huge 3-pointers en route to scoring eight points and pulling down seven boards. Oneida’s remaining three points came via Manis. Manis also pulled down three boards. Although they didn’t score, Bell, Bush, and Russ contributed heavily to the press and defensive efforts as Bell collected three rebounds and Bush and Russ each had a steal.
The first period was nip and tuck before three Martin FTs with 0.4 left in the frame gave the Lady Indians a bit of breathing room at 21-13 heading to the second. The trio of Martin, Pike, and Stiltner would score all 21 Oneida points in the period. It was Pike working the driving lanes for eight points, Martin did a little bit of everything as she hit a deuce, a triple, and three charity tosses, and Stiltner crashed the offensive glass for five points including an and-one.
Wartburg would pull to within one point at 22-21 to start the frame behind two banked triples but Wisner and Stiltner would have the last laugh. The Lady Indians would close the half on a 13-3 run including a Wisner triple (inside 10 seconds) and a Stiltner buzzer-beating offensive putback to end the half, giving Oneida a 35-24 lead at all the momentum. Also in the frame, Martin would lead the way with five points (3+2) while Manis would score her three points (2+1) and Pike would knock down a charity toss.
Oneida completely seized control in the third as the trio of Stiltner, Wisner, and Pike led the offensive charges into the battle, each scoring five points as the Lady Indians clamped down defensively (taking away the 3-point line) in limiting Wartburg to seven points, extending the lead to 19 points heading into the fourth 50-31. Stiltner and Pike each had an and-one plus a bucket in the lane while Wisner buried her second big triple of the night and knocked home an offensive putback.
The fourth period saw Wartburg turn up the pressure but Oneida had built an insurmountable 19-point lead, hanging on to win the contest 57-44. The Lady Indians’ seven points in the frame came via Martin, Pike, and Stiltner. Martin would score 3 points on a bucket and charity toss while Pike and Stiltner each worked the lane and block for deuces.
ONEIDA (57): Pike 16, Manis 3, Martin 16, Stiltner 14, and Wisner 8.
WARTBURG (44): Johnson 7, Keathley 10, Redmon 6, Davis 17, and Byrge 4.