AURORA -- The Niangua Cardinals shook off a sluggish start, pulled away in the third quarter and put away the Verona Wildcats, 52-39, at Aurora on Tuesday night. Niangua, the #2 seed, ended Verona's season and will play Chadwick on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the Class 1 District 6 boys basketball tournament's semi-finals.
The one-win Wildcats held on stubbornly against Niangua and only trailed 17-15 at halftime. Wesley Kissinger kept Verona in the slow-paced game, scoring 10 of his team's 15 first-half points. Kissinger finished as the game's high scorer with 24. Justin Miller led Niangua with 21.
|In the second half, Niangua relied more on the inside power of Derek Brown and Logan Rolfe. The pair of 6'3" forwards exploited their size advantage and led the Cards to a 33-25 lead at the final break.|
|Verona could not get the margin under 10 in the fourth quarter, and Niangua pushed on to the 52-39 victory. The Cardinals improved to 12-6 with the district win, while Verona finishes at 1-20.|
|Verona scorers: Wesley Kissinger 24; Seth Losack 12; Cody Ernsberger 2; and Clifford Williams 1.|
|Niangua scorers: Justin Miller 21; Derek Brown 13; Alex Colten 8; Logan Rolfe 8; and Dakota Bailey 2.|