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Sunbright defeats Oneida in potential preview of district championship game

Oneida and Sunbright will meet at least twice after Christmas … and maybe more. 

But on Wednesday (Dec. 22), fans got a preview of the two teams expected to battle for the District 3-A championship in late February, as they met in the third place game of the South Fork Physical Therapy Christmas Classic at OHS Gymnasium.

And in that first matchup, Rusty Yaden’s Lady Tigers eventually escaped with a 63-56 win, but it took overtime to do it. 

scored 30 points, including a 3-pointer from deep on the right wing at the end of regulation to force overtime. 

But Sunbright’s Alexis Northrup took over in overtime, scoring seven of her 17 in the extra 4-minute session, with those points proving to be the margin of victory for the Lady Tigers.

The game was costly for Oneida. , a sophomore who is the team’s second-leading scorer, went down early with what appeared to be a serious knee injury.

In her absence, Oneida just kept battling back against the team that is the district favorite. 

Sunbright’s Alley Shannon hit a buzzer-beater at the end of the third quarter to give the Lady Tigers a 44-36 lead. But the Lady Indians opened the fourth quarter on an 8-0 run to tie things up.

Still, it looked like Sunbright might escape. But nursing a 4-point lead late, the Lady Tigers twice missed the front-end of one-and-one free throw opportunities. After a Pike layup to cut the gap to two points with under 10 seconds to play, Sunbright hit only one of two free throws, giving Pike an opportunity for the 3-pointer to force overtime.

Oneida was limited to only one field goal in overtime. Faith Cross, who finished with 10, scored early in the extra session.

ONEIDA (56): Pike 30, Cross 10, Elmore 7, Terry 4, Shoemaker 3, Russ 2.

SUNBRIGHT (63): Northrup 17, Newport 14, Brown 11, Ad. Shannon 7, Al. Shannon 7, Trent 4, Smith 3.

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