Scott High kept its streak against Oneida alive on Tuesday (Dec. 21). But it wasn’t easy.
Before a packed house at OHS Gymnasium, the Highlanders held on for a 61-47 win in the semifinals of the South Fork Physical Therapy Christmas Classic. But in some ways, the game was closer than that.
Scott High jumped out to a 15-2 lead in the first quarter, and led by as much as 18. But the Indians closed the gap to single-digits in the fourth quarter, and the contest was played essentially evenly after that lopsided first quarter.
“We left it all on the line tonight,” Oneida coach Jacob King said.
Trey Morrow finished with 29 points for Scott High, while Luke West had 10.
For Oneida, Jacob Perry had 17 points, while Mason Keeton and Rylin Duncan each had 12.
After Scott High defeated a Woodberry-Forest team that was expected to win the tournament on Monday, and Oneida struggled to put away Seymour, some folks thought the result of Tuesday’s semifinal game might be lopsided.
The game certainly looked that way early, with the Indians struggling mightily against Scott’s press and Perry playing his best game of the season offensively.
“After that run at the start of the game, they called a time out and we came to the sideline, and it was like a depletion of energy,” Scott High coach Jordan Jeffers said. “It was like we never responded after that. In some ways I felt like we got lackadaisical.”
Jeffers said Oneida did a good job of adjusting.
“Once Oneida figured out our speed, they were able to break the press and get shots,” Jeffers said, adding that his team had “an effort problem in that first half.”
The Highlanders built as much as an 18-point lead in the third quarter, before Oneida went on a run to cut it to nine early in the fourth quarter. Scott High had five straight turnovers to start the final period.
“How does an 18-point lead go to nine? Five turnovers on the first five possessions of the fourth quarter,” Jeffers said. “We had guys step up, but we got hammered on the glass.”
King said his team was able to do what it hoped to do defensively.
“We wanted to hold Trey to 25 or less, and hold Luke to 10 or under,” King said. He added that his team needs more scoring options. But, he said, “When we get into district play, nobody is going to defend us like they did. We’re a young bunch of kids but my sophomores are growing.”
The bottom line for his team, according to Jeffers, is that the end result was a win.
“We’re not going to apologize for winning,” he said. “There ain’t a return policy on ‘em.”
A capacity crowd showed up for the game. It was so crowded, in fact, that well over 100 people — including most of the Scott High student section — lined the ends of the gym along the baselines.
“The atmosphere in a substate game is no better than this right here,” King said. “The sportsmanship was great. It was fun. We need to do it two times a year instead of one. It brings the community together. The fans have fun and we have fun.”
Jeffers said the noise was so loud it was impossible to call plays.
“We had to use hand signals, like you do in football,” he said. “We couldn’t call nothing.”
King said the game could have very well been a battle between two teams that wind up in the state tournament at the end of the season.
“Give Scott High credit,” he said. “I think they’ve got a shot to get to Murfreesboro. I think we’ve got a shot to get to Murfreesboro. I’m for ‘em as long as they’re not playing the orange and white, and I hope they feel the same way about us.”
SCOTT (61): Morrow 29, West 10, Jeffers 9, Brumett 5, Prewitt 5, Woodward 3.
ONEIDA (47): Perry 17, Keeton 12, Duncan 12, Rector 6.