Oneida boys make strong showing
Following a tough loss to CVA, Oneida held Vernon-Verona-Sherrill at bay, rallying for the TVL win.
ONEIDA, N.Y. >> Following a tough loss to CVA on Tuesday, Oneida head coach Jeff Didio said he’d like to see an improvement on defense as the season progresses. Message received. Oneida held Vernon-Verona-Sherrill to six points in the deciding fourth quarter of Friday’s Tri-Valley League Pioneer Division showdown, rallying for a 50-44 victory.
“I thought our composure the entire fourth quarter was the difference in the game tonight. We really only had one bad turnover late, but we ran some good sets and executed,” Didio said. “That was the big difference...Defensively, we can stay in games if we hold teams in the 40’s and 50’s. That was the main objective during the week, and I’m glad it carried over.”
Junior forward Jacob Vaccaro netted 14 points to lead the Oneida attack. Fellow big man and junior Ben Wright was right behind Vaccaro with 12 points.
“It’s just the rivalry, you know. Just playing against them...our crowd and the players over there...I love it. On game day, I just get a different feeling and it brings the best out of me,” Wright said of playing VVS. “Getting the rebounds and then putting them back up. That was definitely huge.”
“I wish I could bottle that for Ben,” Didio quipped.
VVS junior Bailey Janowski led all scorers with 19 points in the defeat, dropping 15 points in a monster third quarter.
“He’s a great player. One of the best in the league. We tried to double him every time he touched the ball. He is so big and strong and his knowledge of the game is terrific. But compliment our bigs, and our guards pinned down. I thought our bigs played outstanding [defense on Janowski],” Didio
“You really have to muscle him in there. Getting boards, you really had to make sure you boxed out on him no matter what,” Vaccaro added of defending Janowski before touching on the rivalry. “[The win] feels great. It was our first one in a long time, and I’m glad it was over VVS.”
After a relatively sluggish first quarter, Oneida opened the second with a 10-6 lead, but VVS erased the gap quickly in the first couple minutes of the frame courtesy of back-to-back 3-pointers by Troy Sutherland. With VVS up 12-10, the two rivals began to pick up the pace on offense.
Wright hauled down an offensive rebound and scored on a putback. Jordan Clark followed with a putback of his own to give Oneida a 14-12 lead. Phoenix Weydig netted VVS’ next hoop, but Wright again had the answer for Oneida. A Janowski and-1 followed by a Weydig 3-ball in the final three minutes of the second put VVS up 20-16, but the see-saw affair continued when Wright and Vinny Leibl scored on consecutive possessions for Oneida to tie things up at 20-20. SamDon- nelly drained a shot from beyond the arc to close out the quarter and give VVS a 2320 lead heading into the half.
Janowski absolutely dominated the third, outscoring the entire Oneida team 1514. The VVS junior started out with a pair of makes from the free throw line. After Wright found the bottom of the net on a baseline jumper, Janowski crashed the offensive glass for a putback on his next basket, adding a gimme in the paint moments later.
Vaccaro buried a 3-ball from the top of the circle to stem the tide, but Janowski responded with a pair of made free throws. Vaccaro answered with a coast-tocoast lay-in. Leibl added another hoop for Oneida, but Janowski made his way to the free throw line again, sinking a pair to push the VVS lead to 33-29.
A Vaccaro jumper pulled Oneida within two points and prompted a VVS time- out, but out of the stoppage, Janowski went right back to work, scoring the five straight points to give the visitors a 38-31 lead with time winding down in the third. Oneida received a huge lift to close the frame when Clark grabbed an offensive rebound, kicked the ball out to Leibl, and then, drained a 3-ball to close the period with VVS leading 3834.
Turnovers doomed the Red Devils in the final quarter of play.
“We had the game. We were up heading into the fourth quarter, and we get down to the end of the game and make dumb turnovers. It was our inexperience. Four in a row. Those kill you, especially with the game on the line,” VVS head coach Andy Cossette said. “I’m happy with our effort. We gave everything we had. We just didn’t execute in the clutch in the end.”
Less than two minutes into the fourth, Janowski split a pair of free throws at the line to put up VVS 41-36 before Oneida made its run. Vaccaro slashed through the lane for quick score, and Ty D’Arcangelis forced a Red Devil turnover on the other end on the subsequent vistor possession. Vaccaro converted that turnover into a 3-pointer on an assist from Leibl to knot things up at 41-41 with less than four minutes left in the contest.
Oneida capitalized on another Red Devil turnover moments later when Vaccaro found Wright in the paint for two. After a VVS time- out, the two rivals traded turnovers before Vaccaro knocked down a pair at the line for a 45-41 Oneida lead with 2:15 on the clock.
After empty possessions by both teams, VVS was able to capitalize on an Oneida turnover, translating that into a huge 3-point make by Jacob Horodnick to pull within a point at 45-44. Oneida, however, was able to ice the game from the charity stripe as Will Merrell and Clark went a combined 5-of-6 in the waning seconds of the contest to seal a 5044 win.
“We were on a five game skid. I think this win against VVS is huge. It’ll give us a huge boost. We have Clinton Wednesday and Holland Patent on Saturday, so I think it will definitely do something good for our team,” Wright said.
Oneida senior Vinny Leibl and VVS junior Bailey Janowski fight for control of a loose ball during TVL Pioneer Division play on Jan. 11.
Oneida junior Jacob Vaccaro looks for an inbounds pass with VVS senior Jacob Horodnick defending during Friday’s TVL Pioneer matchup.
VVS’ Sam Donnelly looks to make an entry pass during the first half of action against Oneida on Friday, Jan. 11.