Here was the first chance for the Oneida boys basketball team to measure itself against the best team -- and player -- in the Tri-Valley League.
And for a while, the Indians proved up to it in Tuesday's showdown with Utica-Notre Dame, only to see both the Jugglers -- and its main attraction, Pat Moore -- take over in the second half and leave the hosts with a 75-57 defeat.
Moore, committed to attend Colgate University next fall, had led UND to a 6-1 start and the top of the Tri-Valley East division. But the Jugglers had not played in 18 days -- and Oneida hoped to exploit the visitors' possible rust.
UND was not too rusty, though, opening on a 6-0 run and still up 22-17 through one period, with Moore and Dylan Davis getting 18 of those points.
But the Indians used an 8-0 run early in the second quarter to pull out in front and, while the Jugglers did answer, it only trailed 33-30 at the break and had a strong start to the second half, taking a 42-40 lead midway through the third quarter.
Here, though, Oneida went cold -- and UND exploited it, putting up 20 unanswered points, a stretch that covered nearly six minutes and went well into the fourth quarter.
Not surprisingly, Moore led the charge, hitting on 14 of his 33 points during this stretch as he also finished with 10 rebounds. The support of Davis, who had 18 points, assured that Oneida could not focus its entire defense on Moore.
Battling to the end, the Indians did see Benn DeRocker earn 20 points, most of it from four 3-pointers. Trey Didio added 10 points, with Mitch DuBois (eight points) and Matt Tamburro (six points) close behind.
As this went on, Vernon Verona Sherrill suffered a heartbreaking 52-50 defeat to Clinton, falling to 3-7 on the season.