ONEIDA | The Indians let one get away from them earlier in the week, building a big lead early against Campbell County before the Cougars stormed back to win in double-overtime.
There would be no repeat of that in district action at OHS Gymnasium on Friday. This time, when Oneida got its lead, it kept it, rolling to a 71-46 win over Sunbright on homecoming night.
But that doesn’t really tell the full story of how the game went. The out-manned Tigers turned in a valiant effort early and kept things close for a half, before the Indians took over in the third quarter.
In fact, Sunbright led by as much as seven points midway through the first quarter. And while Oneida battled back to tie the game at 15 to end the first quarter, the Tigers refused to go away quietly. The Indians didn’t grab their first lead of the game until the four-minute mark of the second quarter. Even then, Sunbright managed to reclaim the lead a couple of times.
But Oneida went on a 25-9 run in the third quarter to remove any doubt, turning a two-point halftime advantage into a comfortable 18-point margin as the fourth quarter began.
Mason Keeton had a big night. The junior finished with 30 points, nine assists, six rebounds and four steals, leading the Indians in every major statistical category. He was named the First National Bank Player of the Game.
Two other players also finished in double figures for Oneida. Grady Keeton and Jeric Huling each had 11 points. Huling had four rebounds and three steals, and was named the Trophy Masters Hustle Award winner.
It wasn’t Oneida’s best-shooting night. In fact, Sunbright out-shot the Indians, 40% to 39%. The two teams had similar shooting percentages from 3-point range and from the free throw line. But Oneida recorded 17 steals and forced Sunbright into 27 turnovers, and that was the difference in the game.
Grant Sexton scored 15 points to lead the Tigers. Ben Carson, a Scott High transfer, finished with nine points.
The game kept Oneida unbeaten in district play.
ONEIDA (71): M. Keeton 30, Gr. Keeton 11, Huling 11, Rector 5, Brawner 4, Bell 3, Spradlin 3, Privett 2, Gilbert 2.
SUNBRIGHT (46): Sexton 15, Carson 9, Kreis 8, Freels 7, Rogers 6, Ward 1.