ONEIDA | Can the Lady Indians beat Clarkrange?
If Oneida achieves its goal of making it to the state tournament, that’s a question that might need to be answered, since the two teams might very well meet in a game with major stakes.
And if the second half of Saturday’s meeting at OHS Gymnasium is any indication, the answer is “yes.”
Clarkrange won the game, 59-50. But it was not without a fight. The Lady Indians battled back from 18 down to make it a four-point game late, before the Buffaloes were ultimately able to survive.
Oneida’s comeback was due to its defensive intensity, which clearly had Clarkrange’s offense out of sync at times. Buffaloes coach Lamar Rogers was forced to use multiple time outs to help his team adjust to the Lady Indians’ pressure, which forced 15 turnovers.
After an early 8-0 run by Clarkrange, Braelyn Russ hit back-to-back 3-pointers off the bench to tie the game. But from there Clarkrange ended the first quarter on a 16-2 run to take a commanding lead early.
The second quarter saw Oneida tighten down defensively, but struggle to score offensively, and Clarkrange widened its lead to 18 at halftime, 35-17.
Oneida began to steadily chip away at the lead in the third quarter. On a night when Kelsey Pike had a double-double, with 22 points and 10 rebounds, Oneida began to attack the basket and earn trips to the free throw line. Pike finished 10 of 12 at the stripe.
Defensively, Rachel Elmore recorded a team-high three steals.
Oneida got as close as 10 points late in the third quarter, then continued to chip away at the lead in the fourth quarter.
At one point, it was a four-point game when the Lady Indians scored with 2:20 remaining to make it 54-50.
But Clarkrange answered, then hit its free throws in the waning seconds to pull out its second win over Oneida this season.
Still, Oneida clearly had the momentum and had Clarkrange a bit off its game in the second half. Should the two teams meet again on a neutral court in March, the lessons learned from a January Saturday night inside OHS Gymnasium might be important.
ONEIDA (50): Pike 22, Terry 9, G. Shoemaker 6, Russ 6, Elmore 4, Bush 3.
CLARKRANGE (59): Bush 21, Hopkins 16, Stowers 10, Rogers 6, Sells 3, Sitton 3.