So a new chapter in Oneida boys basketball begins, and while times might prove tough, the Indians just might have the toughness necessary to make it through a difficult transition.
Most of the cast responsible for last season's 17-6 run to the Section III Class A semifinals is gone, including all-time leading scorer Ryan Kramer.
With new starters everywhere, the Indians carried modest expectations into the season-opening Norwich Tournament on Thanksgiving weekend.
Still, Oneida was seconds away from a victory in the opening round against Massena before falling in overtime by a score of 56-52.
Trailing 23-18 at the break, the Indians pushed back by holding Massena to six points in the third quarter and taking the lead. They would go back and forth through a tense fourth quarter, too.
With 1.6 seconds left and Oneida still ahead by two, 45-43, Massena's Matt Jenack got fouled. Jenack coolly sank both free throws, and the Indians could not get the game-winner, so it went to four minutes of overtime.
It remained active in the OT period, but Massena edged out in front and stayed there thanks to Matt Jenack, who had seven of his 13 points in that extra period.
In defeat, Matt Tamburro led both sides with 16 points, while Benn DeRocker poured in 14 points. Most of Andrew Hornyak's 11 points came from a trio of 3-pointers.
Sent into Saturday's consolation game against Oxford, the Indians would require some terrific defense to win 44-36 and gain a split out of its tournament work.
A poor first half left Oneida behind, 24-16, going into the third quarter. But the Indians made up most of its deficit in that period, then surged ahead in the final quarter as Oxford managed just four points in that frame.
Taking full advantage of Oxford's cold spell, DeRocker and Hornyak led Oneida with 12 points apiece. Tamburro and Mitchell DuBois each had five points.
Oneida heads right into Tri-Valley League play this week with home games Tuesday against Clinton and Friday against New Hartford.