OLIVER SPRINGS, Tenn. | It wasn’t Oneida’s best night on the offensive end of the floor. Oliver Springs might have had something to do with that, and District 3-A’s surprise team from a year ago came within a hair of upsetting the Indians on a January Friday night in Roane County.
But, in the end, Oneida’s defense was the difference, and the Indians prevailed, 47-44.
Mason Keeton scored 22 points and had a team-high six steals, and was named the First National Bank Player of the Game.
Oliver Springs’ largest lead was just two points and came at the first of the game. The Indians rarely trailed, but also weren’t able to pull away from the Bobcats. They did build as much as an eight-point lead midway through the second quarter, but Oz trimmed it to just one point at halftime. The Indians then built a six-point lead going into the fourth quarter, but Oliver Springs continued to battle back.
Oneida did not score a field goal for the last 3:28 of the game.
Oneida shot just 29% from the field and an ice-cold 8% from 3-point range. The struggles continued at the free throw line, where Oneida shot 60% while getting 24 attempts in the second half.
Fortunately, Oliver Springs wasn’t much better on its offensive end — and Oneida’s defense definitely had something to do with that. The Bobcats shot 33% from the field, including 8% from 3-point range. They were 73% from the free throw line, but got there only 15 times, compared to 30 attempts for Oneida.
The turnovers were free throws — the Indians had an 18 to 11 advantage in made free throws — and turnovers. Oneida forced Oliver Springs into 17 turnovers, more than twice the eight turnovers that the Indians committed. Keeton was a big part of the reason why, recording six of his team’s 12 steals.
Hayden Brawner had a team-high nine rebounds.
Gavin Keeton came off the bench to be named the Trophy Masters Hustle Award winner.
With the win, Oneida remains unbeaten in district play.
ONEIDA (47): M. Keeton 22, Gr. Keeton 6, Brawner 5, Spradlin 4, Ga. Keeton 4, Huling 3, Rector 3.OLIVER SPRINGS (44): Jones 14, Barger 13, Williford 6, Wright 6, Gouge 4, Adkins 1.