Oneida stayed in position to capture either the second or third seed in District 3-A by defeating Wartburg 47-40 in a key district battle on Thursday.
The Bulldogs entered Thursday’s game in second place in the district, but the loss left them tied with Coalfield. The two teams will rematch in Morgan County on Feb. 4.
Oneida trailed early, but used a big second quarter to build a lead that it would not relinquish. The Lady Indians out-scored the Bulldogs 19-4 in the second quarter to take a 28-17 lead into the intermission.
A big part of that second quarter run was defense. The Lady Indians forced Wartburg into eight turnovers.
But Wartburg wasn’t done. The Bulldogs outscored Oneida 16-7 in the third quarter to close the deficit to just two points as the fourth quarter began. The Lady Indians missed six straight free throws in the third quarter before Kelsey Pike stepped in and knocked down two free tosses with 22 seconds remaining in the period.
Pike was limited due to an ankle injury, but still scored 16 points to lead all scorers.
Wartburg was led by Olivia Davis’s 13 points.
Oneida had a sizable advantage on the boards, out-rebounding Wartburg 25 to 17. Rachel Elmore was a big reason why. She finished with nine rebounds.
Wartburg got as close as one point in the second half but could never regain the lead.
Grace Shoemaker had three timely 3-pointers for the Lady Indians.
The Lady Indians continued to be hampered by injuries. In addition to Pike battling a nagging ankle injury that is requiring therapy, Oneida is without Braelyn Russ. The sophomore tore her ACL in a Christmas tournament game. Senior Caroline Keeton continues to battle injuries, as well.
ONEIDA (47): Pike 16, G. Shoemaker 9, Cross 6, Bush 6, Terry 6, Smith 2, Elmore 2.
WARTBURG (40): Davis 13, Keathley 9, Williams 8, Byrge 6, Shaddon 4.