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Oneida surges in second half to capture region title

WARTBURG, Tenn.  |  It was something of a Cinderella run for Greenback, which advanced to the Region 2-A championship game after finishing in third place in district tournament play.

And for a half at Wartburg Central High School Thursday, the slipper still fit. But in the fourth quarter of Thursday’s championship game, that slipper shattered. 

Oneida rallied from a five-point second quarter deficit to take a tie to halftime, led by seven going into the fourth quarter, and then completely took control.

Oneida players are pictured after their 73-43 win over Greenback in the Region 2-A championship game at Wartburg on Thursday, March 2, 2023 | Sarah Dunlap/IH

The Indians out-scored the Cherokees 28-5 in the fourth quarter, as a gassed Greenback team limped to the finish line of a game that saw Oneida win, 73-43, to secure a home substate game on Monday.

scored 22 points and had seven rebounds and five assists to power the Indians to the win. also had a big night, with 15 points and seven rebounds, along with three blocked shots. scored 15 points, as well.

The Indians trailed by as much as five points in the second quarter, when Greenback hit a shot with 2:58 remaining. But Oneida soared back to tie the game at halftime, then out-scored Greenback 19-12 in the third quarter.

Even with the lead at just seven points going into the fourth quarter, it felt secure for Oneida. 

And it was. The Indians completely dominated the fourth quarter.

Along the way, Oneida held Greenback’s star freshman, Garrett Giles, who had a magnificent tournament, to just five points. 

Oneida coach Jacob King cuts down the net following his team’s 73-43 win over Greenback in the Region 2-A championship game at Wartburg on Thursday, March 2, 2023 | Sarah Dunlap/IH

Oneida shot 61% in the second half to pull away for the win. The Indians’ post game was perhaps the single biggest reason why Oneida took over in the second half. They held Giles in check, and out-rebounded Greenback 36 to 25. 

The Indians will host Hampton in the substate game on Monday at OHS Gymnasium. Hampton is 25-8 on the season, but fell to University High in both the District 1-A championship game and in the Region 1-A championship game on Thursday. 

The only common opponent between Oneida and Hampton this season is Jellico. Both teams defeated the Blue Devils with relative ease.

Tipoff of Monday’s game is slated for 7pm.

ONEIDA (73): M. Keeton 22, Brawner 15, Gr. Keeton 15, Spradlin 8, Huling 5, Ga. Keeton 2, Morgan 2. 

GREENBACK (43): Burchfield 17, Morton 13, Giles 5, Hicks 4, Sellers 4.

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