Long before tip-off of Saturday night's Section III Class A boys basketball semifinal at LeMoyne College, a large group of Oneida fans sat in the stands, waiting to see if their team could shock defending state champion Jamesville-DeWitt.
Once the game tipped off, they didn't have to wait long to find the answer.
In close to top form, the Red Rams had a 22-point lead before the game was five minutes old, the kind of overwhelming blitz the Indians could not answer as it eventually took an 89-70 defeat and saw its season end with a mark of 17-6.
More than a week had passed since Oneida had knocked out archrival Vernon Verona Sherrill in the Class A quarterfinals, a 46-37 game where the Indians' defense stole the spotlight.
Against J-D, the Indians would give up 36 points -- in the first quarter.
Bent on showing everyone how dominant it could be, J-D attacked at every turn in those opening minutes, overwhelming the Indians. Led by Syracuse University-bound senior Brandon Triche and freshman center DaJuan Coleman, the Rams did whatever it wanted.
In that first quarter alone, eight different J-D players scored baskets, and it hit on five 3-pointers. It was 25-3 before Oneida could finally establish some kind of offensive rhythm, and a 3-pointer by Zach Chionuma just before the first-quarter buzzer capped off the 36-11 run.
From that point forward, all the Indians could do was match baskets and hope that, at some point, J-D cooled off. And the Rams would do so -- but only after Triche and Coleman left the game late in the third quarter with Oneida down 76-45.
Oneida outscored J-D's reserves 25-13 the rest of the way, the lone bright point in an otherwise long and painful night.
Nick Dreimiller led with 17 points, while David Cieri got 12 points and Justin Didio added 11 points. Joe McCormick had nine points, all from a trio of 3-pointers. Ryan Kramer, Oneida's all-time leading scorer, had just eight points.
Coleman set the pace for the Red Rams with 16 points, with Triche adding 13 points and 13 assists. Lamar Kearse and Alshwan Hymes both matched Triche with 13 points as Zach Firestone added 11 points.
From this year's squad, Oneida will see Kramer, Didio, Cieri, McCormick, Dreimiller, Wade Kline and Brandon Miles graduate, a stellar senior group that helped produce a Tri-Valley West regular-season title and three wins over VVS, among other things.