It looked shaky for a while. But then Rylin Duncan took over.
Oneida's senior big man had 21 points in the second and third quarters, including 14 in a pivotal second quarter stretch that saw the Indians turn a 4-point deficit into a 17-point halftime lead, en route to a 74-48 win over Cosby at OHS Gymnasium Saturday evening.
Duncan finished with 25 points, while Mason Williams had 15, and the Indians pulled away for a win that was relatively easy, even though it didn't look like it was going to be that way early on.
Cosby came out strong and led by as much as four points before the Indians went on a little bit of a surge at the end of the first quarter to snag a 13-10 lead. That was largely because of Jacob Perry, who hit two 3-pointers in the opening period en route to eight points for the game.
Cosby had five 3-pointers in the first half as a team, including three by Paxton Coggins, who finished with nine points for the game.
But then came the second quarter flurry by the Indians, which essentially ended the game by halftime. Duncan knocked down two 3-pointers from the top of the key to go with his four shots from inside, while Hayden Brawner scored four of his nine points to aid the run. Brock West added a 3-pointer, too, as Oneida went on a 27-13 run to build the sizable halftime lead.
The third quarter was a bit of a struggle for both teams. But Duncan kept Oneida in front by matching Cosby's seven points all by himself, and Oneida led 49-30 as the fourth quarter began.
The Indians once again got hot in the final period, and stayed that way even after both teams had gone to the end of their bench late in the game. In fact, Bretlee Privett and Cooper West both came on to hit 3-point shots for Oneida in the game's closing stages.
Oneida was without junior post Zeb Spradlin, but Duncan and Brawner were able to make up for his absence by combining for 34.
In all, nine different players scored for the Indians. Duncan, Keeton and Perry each had seven rebounds. Keeton also finished with seven assists and six steals.
ONEIDA (74): Duncan 25, M. Keeton 15, Brawner 9, Perry 8, B. West 6, Bell 4, C. West 3, Privett 3, Rector 1.
COSBY (48): O'Dell 11, Green 11, Coggins 9, Shropshire 8, Raines 5, Ogle 4.
Oneida 44, Sunbright 37
SUNBRIGHT — If you were looking at the score after the first quarter of Friday night's District 3-A game here, you would've never dreamed it would be competitive.
In fact, if you looked at the first quarter of Friday's game, you would've never guessed that it was being played between the top two teams in the district standings.
Oneida started off red hot against the Tigers — on both ends of the court. The Indians led 18-0 after the first quarter. But Sunbright, which has been the surprise of the district to this point, slowly climbed their way back into the game as it progressed, eventually falling 44-37.
The Indians did not hit a 3-point shot and only had one free throw attempt in the first half, yet still scored 27 points. But things went ice cold after the first quarter, and Oneida only scored 26 points the rest of the way — including just 17 in the second half.
Sunbright, meanwhile, cut the deficit to 15 points at halftime, to 11 points going into the fourth quarter, and eventually made a game of it in the final minutes.
Much of Sunbright's success was a result of Jonah Freels. He finished with 17 points to lead all scorers.
Oneida was led by Mason Keeton with 11 and Jacob Perry with 10.
For the first time all season, Oneida finished the game without a single made 3-pointer. The Indians also struggled from the free throw line, going just 4 of 12.
Fortunately for the Indians, Sunbright wasn't much better at the line — finishing 3 of 8 — or the game could have been even closer down the stretch.
ONEIDA (44): M. Keeton 11, Perry 10, Duncan 7, Limburg 4, Bell 4, Shoemaker 4, Brawner 4.
SUNBRIGHT (37): Freels 17, Hamby 8, Rogers 8, Branstetter 7, Nitzschke 5.