Whatever else takes place the rest of this season, the Oneida boys basketball team can walk a bit taller, knowing it had taken out its biggest rival.
Going right into the "Pit" of Vernon-Verona-Sherrill last Saturday night, the Indians negated the Red Devils' vaunted defense with a dream night of shooting from the floor that led to a sweet 65-55 victory.
It didn't matter that VVS was 14-2, or that it had a major size advantage, or that it had easily handled the Indians in their first meeting in Oneida on Jan. 8 -- which was VVS head coach Al Knapp's 500th career win.
All that mattered here was that the Indians started making shots early -- and never stopped.
The home crowd got quiet as Oneida raced to a 19-11 first-quarter edge, only to make plenty of noise again as good work in the paint allowed VVS to shrink the margin to 29-27 at the break.
Somewhere, the Red Devils waited for the Indians to cool off. But it never happened, as open shots kept falling and Oneida built up its lead again in the second half.
All told, the Indians took 36 shots and made 24 of them, an astonishing 67 percent. And to finish off this near-perfect evening, Justin Didio hit all six of his free throws in the final minutes, preventing any possible Red Devils comeback.
Ryan Kramer didn't need to carry the whole load, either, though he led Oneida with 16 points. David Cieri stepped up for a season-best 14 points, as Joe McCormick earned 13 points. Most of Didio's eight points came from those clutch foul shots as Blake Cavanaugh earned six points and Nick Dreimiller got five points.
To counter all this, VVS had Zack Jensen pour in 19 points and Derek Smith add 17 points. However, aside from Jensen, Smith and Adam Kemp (eight points), the Red Devils had just one field goal, far less balance and depth than Oneida had showed.