Indians shut down Red Devils in hoops duel

Many of the names had changed on both sides, but what was true in the 2008-09 season remains the case now -- namely, that the Oneida boys basketball has gained control of its rivalry against Vernon Verona Sherrill.

Even in the hostile territory of "The Pit" Tuesday night, the Indians found a comfort zone, turning mostly to its defense to beat the Red Devils 51-38 and improve to 4-2 on the season, 3-1 in the Tri-Valley League. VVS fell to 1-4.

This made it four straight wins for Oneida in the series. The Indians beat VVS three straight times last winter, including a 46-37 decision in the Section III Class A quarterfinals.

And even with the likes of Ryan Kramer and Evan Croll gone, the rivalry remained intense -- and strangely, the Red Devils continued to struggle for points.

Oneida never trailed, putting up the game's first six points and laying back in a 2-3 defensive zone, clearly focused on stopping VVS forward Joe Spinella.

It worked, for the most part, as Spinella had just seven points on this night and the Red Devils would be forced into taking a series of long-range shots, few of which fell. VVS would make just two 3-pointers.

The closest it got was 8-7 early in the second quarter. Oneida's offense slumbered for a while, but awoke thanks to a long 3-pointer from Trey Didio, his only basket of the night. The Indians outscored VVS 16-7 the rest of the half, and took a 26-14 lead to the break.

Midway through the third quarter, the Red Devils had cut it to 30-24, and the home crowd was making some noise --but Oneida quieted them with a 10-1 run to close out the period, and VVS would not get close again.

All night long, Matt Tamburro was the Indians' featured offensive attraction, pouring in 18 points. Keith Johnson and Mitchell DuBois provided the main support, with seven points apiece, while Andrew Hornyak had six points. No Red Devils player scored in double figures, though Simon Pitman, with nine points, and Isaac Pitman, with eight points, came close.

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