As it headed into its own Alliance Bank Tournament this weekend, the Oneida boys basketball team had gained a good idea about its place among Tri-Valley League contenders after games against Utica-Notre Dame and New Hartford - though both ended in defeat.
The Indians visited 7-3 New Hartford last Tuesday night and played quite well for most of the night -- only to see a second-quarter drought prove costly in a 60-56 loss to the Spartans.
They were tied, 14-14, through one period, but in the second period Oneida went cold, unable to make any baskets for long periods of time. That allowed New Hartford to bolt out to a 29-20 halftime edge.
To its credit, the Indians erased most of that deficit in the third quarter, and the two sides traded baskets throughout a tense fourth quarter. Still, the Spartans held on.
Benn DeRocker led Oneida with 18 points, including a pair of 3-pointers. Matt Tamburro added 13 points, while Mitchell DuBois got nine points and Keith Johnson earned six points. On New Hartford's side, A.J. Wolfanger had 19 points and Derek German added 14 points.
The Oneida girls team continued to play every opponent tough, including New Hartford, though it still lost to the Spartans 48-37.
Ignoring New Hartford's 8-4 mark, Oneida played them to a 13-13 draw in the first quarter. From that point forward, the Spartans went out in front, getting enough baskets to take advantage of long lulls in the Indians' production.
Nicole Shene, with nine points, and Mallory Roberts, with eight points, kept Oneida within sight as Jackie Cavanaugh added six points. For New Hartford, Ashley Chanatry produced 17 points, while Kara Sellars (14 points) and Theano Alvanos (11 points) also hit double figures.