Coming off Tri-Valley League road wins against VVS and Holland Patent, the Oneida boys basketball team returned home Saturday for a non-league test against Fowler, a fellow Class A school from the OHSL Freedom division.
This time around, the Indians, ahead for much of the afternoon, tripped up in the late stages and took a 72-63 loss to the Falcons.
In a fast-paced first half, Oneida went to the lead, building the margin to 36-29 by halftime.
Though Ryan Kramer had a modest showing of 14 points, Justin Didio led the way with 21 points, and David Cieri took advantage of all of Fowler's defensive attention on Kramer by pouring in 19 points.
Still, the Falcons came back, closing within one, 47-46, by the end of the third period, then taking charge in the fourth quarter behind its own high-octane duo.
Ron Monroe, with 24 points, and Chris Gilkes, with 21 points, led Fowler back. They also got enough help from Malcolm Jones (eight points), Isiah West (seven points), Dakeem Herndon and Tysheim Barfield (six points each) to pull through.
Now with a 5-3 mark, the Indians rest until a Jan. 6 trip to New Hartford, a game that is shaping up as a prelude to a crucial Jan. 9 trip to Whitesboro.