VVS boys tri­umph over Oneida Tues­day

The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY) - - Front Page - By John Brewer jbrewer@onei­dadis­patch.com @dis­patch­brewer on Twit­ter

The ri­vals squared off at the Tri-Val­ley sea­son fi­nale, but a sec­ond half push gave VVS the win.

ONEIDA, N.Y. » It was a tale of two halves on Tues­day night at Fariel Gym­na­sium.

With sec­tional berths al­ready guar­an­teed for Oneida and Ver­non-Verona-Sher­rill, the two ri­vals squared off in a Tri-Val­ley sea­son fi­nale.

Oneida, seek­ing its first win over VVS since 2015, led by as many as nine in the first half, but VVS was able to re­main within strik­ing dis­tance cour­tesy of Nate Palmer’s sharp­shoot­ing. Af­ter bat­tling to a 25-25 first half, VVS outscored the hosts 40-24 in the sec­ond to take a 65-49 win and ce­ment the Red Devils as the top team in the Tri-Val­ley League Pioneer Di­vi­sion.

“The guys were happy to win their share of the Tri-Val­ley,” VVS coach Andy Cos­sette said fol­low­ing the vic­tory and con­clu­sion of the reg­u­lar sea­son.

Palmer net­ted a game-high 18 points, knock­ing down four 3-point­ers to lead the VVS at­tack. Jake En­gler was right on Palmer’s heels, fin­ish­ing with 17 points on the night, 15 of which came in the sec­ond half.

Oneida was led by a 17-point ef­fort from Alex Vac­caro. John Jones added 11 for the hosts, and Vinny Leibl posted 10 in the loss.

Vac­caro was a par­tic­u­lar point of in­ter­est for the Red Devils.

“Vac­caro killed us last time,” Cosette said of the Oneida se­nior’s 26-point per­for­mance against the Red Devils at VVS in Jan­uary. “I thought TJ [Horod­nick] did a nice job on him,”

VVS struck first in the sec­ond

half when Ro­den kicked a pass out to En­gler for a 3-point make. Jones an­swered for Oneida with an of­fen­sive re­bound and put-back, but En­gler came right back to drill an­other 3-poin­ter for VVS’ next score to put the vis­i­tors up 31-27. Later in the third, VVS ex­tended its lead seven, 4134, fol­low­ing con­sec­u­tive of­fen­sive boards and put­backs, by Ro­den and Horod­nick, re­spec­tively. Vac­caro drew a foul on a shot from dis­tance for Oneida on its next pos­ses­sion, con­vert­ing two of three from the foul line to make the score 41-36, but En­gler drove the lane for and scooped a shot home for VVS with 1:15 left in the third to push the lead back to seven. Then, Palmer broke the Oneida full-court press and found Ro­den open un­der­neath for an easy hoop and a 4537 Red Devil lead. Oneida closed the quar­ter with a Ja­cob Vac­caro mid-range shot off the glass to stay within six, 45-39, en­ter­ing the fi­nal quar­ter of play.

The Red Devils opened their lead to dou­ble fig­ures twomin­utes into the fourth when Palmer splashed home his fourth three of the night for a 52- 41 lead. Ty D’Ar­change­lis an­swered Palmer’s 3-poin­ter with one of his own on Oneida’s next scor­ing pos­ses­sion to keep the hosts close. At the 4:00 mark, a Ja­cob Vacarro foul shot crept Oneida to within six, but VVS was too much down the stretch. Ro­den earned a trip to the line to con­vert one of two, En­gler fol­lowed with twom­ore makes from the char­ity stripe, and Davey Mof­fett added hoop in the paint to grow the VVS lead to 58-47 with less than two min­utes re­main­ing. En­gler added two more for a 60-47 VVS lead be­fore Alex Vac­caro net­ted a foul line jumper to halt the run, but with just over a minute to play, the Red Devils were able to close the con­test out with a 65-49 win.

Cos­sette cred­ited his side’s abil­ity to weather Oneida’s ini­tial bar­rage to ex­pe­ri­ence.

“I’ve got five se­niors that start, and an­other solid one on the bench,” he said.

Oneida fin­ished the con­test with 11 points left on the free throw line, some­thing coach Jeff Didio pointed to af­ter the game.

“They made some real big plays in that third quar­ter, hit some 3’s, and had a few break­away layups,” Didio said. “It’s kind of the story of our sea­son. We seem to play well for two to three good, solid quar­ters. We shoot the ball well and de­fend, but then we get into a lit­tle scor­ing lull, and I thought VVS took ad­van­tage of that...Truth­fully, we didn’t shoot the ball very well from the foul line. We were 9 for 20.”

Oneida raced out to a 145, capped by an Alex Vac­caro lay-in, to bring the home crowd to its feet and force a VVS time­out with 2:18 to go in the first. Af­ter John Jones net­ted Oneida’s first point of the game from the char­ity stripe, Vinny Leibl and Vac­caro pro­vided an early spark for Oneida. Vac­caro col­lected six of his team-high 17 points and Leibl added five, bury­ing a 3-poin­ter in the open­ing min­utes. VVS closed on Oneida in the fi­nal two min­utes of the first quar­ter. En­gler got free for a lay-up out of the stop­page, and Palmer added a driv­ing score of his own to cut the deficit to 14-9 in fa­vor of Oneida.

Palmer picked up where he left off in the sec­ond quar­ter. The se­nior point guard buried a 3-poin­ter in the open­ing minute of the sec­ond quar­ter to pull VVS within two points. Oneida’s Vinny Leibl pushed the lead back to four with an­other hoop be­fore TJ Horod­nick an­swered with his own shot from dis­tance to bring the RedDevil­swithin a point at 16-15. Palmer fol­lowed with an­other 3-ball as the vis­i­tors took an 18-16 lead with 5:00 left in the first half.

The two teams closed the half like two fight­ers trad­ing punches. Alex Vac­caro grabbed an of­fen­sive board for the put-back, but VVS an­swered by feed­ing Dewey Ro­den in the paint. The se­nior earned back-to-back trips to the foul line, net­ting all four free­bies for a 22-18 VVS lead. Oneida con­tin­ued its at­tack on the of­fen­sive glass, com­ing right back with an of­fen­sive re­bound and put-back by Jones, fol­lowed by a tough Vac­caro hoop as the Oneida se­nior split Ro­den and DaveyMof­fett for a tightly con­tested make. Oneida ap­peared poised to take a 25-22 lead into the in­ter­mis­sion when Leibl splashed home his sec­ond 3-poin­ter of the night to give the hosts a 2522 lead, but Palmer struck again for the Red Devils, drilling his third 3-point shot of the quar­ter with 23 sec­onds left to en­sure the two teams en­tered the break tied at 25 a piece.

VVS fin­ishes the reg­u­lar sea­son 15- 4 over­all with a first place TVL Pioneer record of 8-3.

Oneida closes the door on its reg­u­lar sea­son 8-12 over­all and sec­ond in the TVL Pioneer at 5-6.


VVS’ Jake En­gler glides in a for a lay-in dur­ing Tues­day’s boys hoops con­test with Oneida.


Oneida’s Alex Vac­caro at­tempts splits a pair of VVS de­fend­ers for a layup dur­ing boys hoops ac­tion on Tues­day, Feb. 13.

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