Oneida, VVS bat­tle on hard­wood

The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY) - - Front Page - By John Brewer [email protected]­dadis­ Sports Ed­i­tor

The last four times the Oneida and VVS bas­ket­ball teams tan­gled, VVS walked away with wins over their arch ri­val.

Tues­day night, Jeff Didio’s Oneida side ended that four game los­ing skid with a 55-36 vic­tory.

Ja­cob Vaccaro knocked down a trio of 3-point­ers en route to a game-high 17 points. Team­mate BenWright was right be­hind him with 16 points, eight of which came from the foul line.

“Two of their bet­ter games on the in­side and in the paint. I thought they both re­bounded ex­tremely well,” Didio said of his bigs. “It seemed like when we needed a big hoop, Ben or Ja­cob were right there for us.”

Sam Don­nelly led VVS in scor­ing with nine points on his own trio of shots from be­yond the arc.

Play­ing with­out big manBai­ley Janowski, the Red Devils strug­gled to score against an Oneida de­fense that forced 14 turnovers and drew praise from Didio.

“I am proud of my kids de­fen­sively. That’s two straight games we have played very well de­fen­sively,” Didio said. “That is what we are re­ally try­ing to preach this year. A nice win on the de­fen­sive end.”

Oneida’s size in the front court did not go un­no­ticed by VVS head coach Andy Cos­sette.

“I wasn’t dis­s­a­pointed in our ef­fort be­cause we played hard. They were just big­ger than us. Grad­u­ated two kids 6’5” last year. My big­gest player sprained his an­kle in the first game of the year, so we were def­i­nitely un­der­sized,” Cos­sette said. “Oneida did a great job of get­ting the ball in­side. We just couldn’t stop them down low. You can­not play 6’ against 6’5”. It doesn’t work. The kids played hard. I am happy with that.”

With the con­test tied at 7-7 mid­way through the first, Oneida went on a 12-3 run to get some sep­a­ra­tion from the hosts.

Vaccaro fed Will Mer­rell for a fast break score to open the run, fol­lowed by an of­fen­sive re­bound and two made foul shots by Ben. Then, Vinny Leibl found Vaccaro for a 3-pointer to push the lead to 14-7. Mo­ments later, Leibl found John Hawthorne for a cor­ner 3 and a 10 point lead, prompt­ing a VVS time­out. Out of the stop­page, Phoenix Wey­dig splashed home a shot from be­yond the arc to in­ter­rupt the Oneida run, but Vaccaro picked off a pass and took it to the hoop on VVS’ next posses-

sion to bring the vis­i­tor lead to 19-10 to close the quar­ter.

Nei­ther team was able to gen­er­ate much of­fense in the sec­ond frame of ac­tion, and Oneida car­ried a 27-18 ad­van­tage into the in­ter­mis­sion.

Oneida came out fir­ing in the sec­ond half.

Leibl fed Wright in the paint for a gimme. On the vis­i­tors’ next trip down the floor, Leibl found Ty D’Ar­can­ge­lis for a 3-pointer.

A Wright of­fen­sive re­bound and put-back on Oneida’s next score bal­looned the vis­i­tor lead to 34-18 be­fore An­drew Fox split a pair of free throw at­tempts to end the Oneida spurt at the 4:42 mark in the third quar­ter.

The two ri­vals traded bas­kets to close out the third quar­ter of ac­tion. Oneida an­swered a Phoenix Wey­dig score with a Leibl 3-ball off a D’Ar­can­ge­lis as­sist, but Wey­dig an­swered right back with a make frombe­yond the arc. Jor­dan Clarke found the bot­tom of the net for Oneida on a base­line drive, but Fox had the an­swer for VVSwith an of­fen­sive re­bound and put­back. Vaccaro found room in the paint for Oneida’s next score, but VVS had the last word in the quar­ter when Don­nelly buried a 3-pointer.

At the end of three, Oneida held a 41-29 edge.

Hunter West opened the fourth with a bucket in the paint off an in­bounds play to push the Oneida lead to 14 at 43-29 be­fore VVS made its move to get back in the con­test.

Don­nelly fol­lowed a Fox hoop with an­other shot from down­town to cut the vis­i­tor lead to 43-34. Af­ter an Oneida travel, Bryce Palmer Eurostepped his way through the de­fense for an­other VVS score to pull within seven points, but it was as close as the hosts would get as the Oneida de­fense did not al­low a point for the fi­nal five min­utes of the con­test.

“Doesn’t mat­ter what sport it is, it gets emo­tional,” Didio said of tak­ing on VVS in Verona. “VVS made a great run there at the end of the game to cut it to seven. I thought we ex­e­cuted a cou­ple of set plays that built that lead back up.

Out of a VVS time­out, Leibl drew a foul in the bonus and knocked down both ends of the 1-and-1. Vaccaro knocked down a 3-pointer on Oneida’s next scor­ing posses­sion to push Oneida’s lead back to dou­ble dig­its at 48-36 to prompt an­other Red Devil time­outwith 2:32 left in the tilt. When play re­sumed, Wright con­verted an and-1 play and then added two more points off a Leibl as­sist the next time down the floor for a 53-36 vis­i­tor lead.

“Se­nior lead­er­ship,” Didio said of Leibl’s pass­ing from the point guard po­si­tion. “I thought he made some great de­ci­sions at the end of the game.”

With less than a minute to go, Vaccaro brought the Oneida crowd to its feet with a two-handed slam to put the ex­cla­ma­tion point on a 55-36 win.

Oneida re­turns to ac­tion against a tough Rome Free Academy side on Fri­day, Dec. 7.

VVS will look to bounce back against Jor­dan-El­bridge on Wed­nes­day, Dec. 6.

“We are young an in­ex­pe­ri­enced. Lost six play­ers from last year’s team that played all the time,” Cos­sette said. “Now, I have two play­ers that played a lit­tle bit, and the rest of the­mare all brand new. We’ll be bet­ter as the year goes on.”


Oneida ju­nior Ben Wright puts up a shot against Ver­non-Verona-Sher­rill ju­nior Bray­den Yauger dur­ing Tues­day’s Tri-Val­ley Pioneer matchup.


Ja­cob Vaccaro caps off an Oneida win over Ver­non-Verona-Sher­rill with a dunk in TriVal­ley play on Tues­day, Dec. 4.


Ver­non-Verona-Sher­rill’s Ja­cob Horod­nick (10) de­fends Oneida’s Ja­cob Vaccaro (22) dur­ing Tues­day’s Tri-Val­ley Pioneer bat­tle.

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