Kelsey Pike couldn’t miss from the free throw line.
She didn’t miss many from the field, either.
The Oneida junior finished with 22 points, as the Lady Indians pulled away for a 52-34 win over Cosby at OHS Gymnasium Saturday afternoon.
It was a surprisingly lopsided game, given the recent history between the two teams. While Oneida has had Cosby’s number, defeating the Eagles on their home floor in 2019 to advance to the state tournament and again this season in a regular season game, Cosby is a traditionally strong and proud program.
But when Oneida wasn’t making the Eagles’ life miserable in Saturday afternoon’s game with its defense, Cosby was struggling to get open looks to fall. Cosby scored only five points in the first quarter and only 12 in the entire first half, before the pace finally picked up slightly in the second half.
Much of the reason the pace picked up for Cosby in the second half was the play of Shylee Shelton. She had four 3-pointers in the second half, en route to a team-high 16 points. But no other Cosby player scored more than six.
Meanwhile, Pike had herself another big night. Less than 24 hours after going off for 30 at Sunbright, Pike went 8 of 8 from the free throw line. And when Shelton was knocking down three 3-pointers for Cosby in the third quarter, Pike answered with 10 points — including a pair of 3-pointers — to help the Lady Indians maintain their advantage. Oneida was able to grow its lead from 17 points at halftime to 20 points entering the fourth quarter.
Seven different Oneida players wound up in the scoring column. Faith Cross was one of the biggest stories, as she attacked the lane with a new aggression and finished with eight points.
As a team, Oneida finished 86% from the free throw line. Cosby could not miss, either, but did not get to the line often, finishing 5 of 5.
ONEIDA (52): Pike 22, Cross 8, G. Shoemaker 7, Elmore 5, Terry 5, Keeton 3, Smith 2.
COSBY (34): Shelton 16, Johnson 6, Smith 4, Coggins 4, Myers 2, Ottinger 2.
Sunbright 51, Oneida 42
SUNBRIGHT — Much like the boys’ game that followed it would start, Friday’s key District 3-A battle here started on the girls’ side — just for the other team.
In the boys game, Oneida led 18-0 after the first quarter and appeared to be on the verge of blowing Sunbright out of the gym before the Tigers battled back to make a game of it.
In the girls game, Sunbright led 17-4 in the first quarter and appeared to be on the verge of blowing Oneida out of the gym. But the Lady Indians, too, battled back to make a game of it.
In fact, things were so bad for Oneida in the first quarter that they did not score a field goal. The only saving grace was that they were 4 of 4 from the free throw line.
But while the Lady Indians couldn’t score from the field, Sunbright was knocking down three 3-pointers and six different players scored, and Rusty Yaden’s team looked like they were headed for a blowout.
Instead, Oneida battled back. Pike and Faith Cross each scored four points in the second quarter, Ali Smith added a key 3-pointer, and the Lady Indians clamped down on Sunbright defensively. As a result, they were able to trim it to eight points at halftime, 25-17.
It got even closer in the third quarter. Sunbright continued to struggle to score against Oneida’s high-energy defense, managing just 10 points. And Oneida continued to play well, with Annaleah Terry scoring six points and Grace Shoemaker knocking down a big 3-pointer, and it was just a three-point Sunbright lead going into the fourth quarter.
But Alexis Northrup was the difference-maker down the stretch. She had seven of her game-high 15 points in the final period, and was 4 of 4 from the free throw line. Addison Shannon added five points, including a big 3-pointer, and Sunbright pulled away for the 51-42 win.
ONEIDA (42): Pike 11, Cross 9, Terry 6, Smith 5, G. Shoemaker 5, Keeton 4, Bush 2.
SUNBRIGHT (51): Northrup 15, Ad. Shannon 8, Newport 7, Trent 6, Brown 6, Al. Shannon 5, Smith 4.