The Verona Lady Wildcats (2-2) claimed a 47-42 win over the Exeter Lady Tigers Tuesday night.
"Exeter is a tough team," said Verona Head Coach Ryan Yates. "They are very big and athletic inside. We were able to execute our offense down the stretch and that was the difference."
The game was tied at 12 at the end of the first quarter. The Lady Tigers used a two-three zone much of the night to stifle the Lady Wildcats' attack. By halftime Exeter had earned a 20-16 lead.
"I thought we did a great job of finding Verona's shooters and getting a hand in their face," said Exeter Head Jason Cole. "Credit Verona for making some halftime adjustments and hitting open shots in the second half."
Exeter opened the third quarter, hitting a quick layup in the first 30 seconds. Those points proved to be the only Lady Tigers' score in the period. Verona would scored 13 unanswered points to take a 29-22 lead into the fourth quarter.
"We made some tweaks in how we moved the ball in the second half," said Yates. "Exeter didn't give us many open looks at the bucket, but we were able to convert when they did."
Exeter would pull within three points on four different occasions in the fourth stanza but couldn't get any closer.
"I thought we tried to force the offense," added Cole. "We had opportunities to take control of the game and just failed to execute. We will learn from this game and get better."
Leading the way for the Lady Tigers in scoring was Destani Stensurd with 15 points. Ashton Scott added 10 points. Abbey Scott chipped in 6 points. Sarah Staples contributed 8 points. Chelbie Kern finished with 3 points.
"I thought we got a little closer to solidifying as a team tonight," said Yates. "We dug down and found way to win. That is what good teams do."
Verona's leading scorer was Jessica Smith with 26 points. Tristan Carrasquillo added 16 points. Amanda Mullen and Taylor Pinkly each scored 2 points. Jenna Chadd finished with 1 point.
The Lady Wildcats' next game will be Friday, Dec 17 against Golden City.
There is an old saying, "any win is a good win," and for the young Verona Wildcats basketball team that statement certainly rings true. The Wildcats (1-2) defeated the Exeter Tigers 67-56 Tuesday night.
Verona finished last season with one victory and have now matched their season win total from a year ago only three games into this season.
"It's a good feeling," said Verona Coach Brad Stewart. "We are still a very young team and to get this shot of confidence early in the season is huge."
Verona came out on fire. At the end of the first quarter, the Wildcats held a 19-13 advantage. Verona grew the lead by a point heading into halftime, leading 35-28.
Exeter wasn't about to go away quietly. The Tigers reeled off seven points to start of the third period and tie the game at 35. When the dust settled at the third quarter's conclusion, Exeter held a 47-46 lead.
|"I thought we had a chance to pull away in the fourth quarter," said Exeter Head Coach Scott White. "I thought we would be able to carry the intensity we had in the third quarter, into the fourth.|
"We had two or three possessions where we missed an open shot or turned the ball over," added White. "Verona is a good team. They did what they had to do to win."
The Tigers led 52-49 at the 6:48 mark of the fourth quarter when Verona's Ancencion Estrada drained a three from the corner to tie the contest.
"Ancencion's shot was huge for our momentum," said Stewart. "We had several of our kids step up and play big for us tonight. James Von Hauenstein played some big minutes off the bench, and Cody Ernsberger hit clutch free throws to seal the win."
Tied at 52 at the 4:48 mark of the fourth quarter, Verona went on a 15-4 run to end the game.
Exeter was led in scoring by Tyler White with 18 points. Ryan Hobbs added 11 points. Brendan Rayburn contributed 8 points. Dusty Hayes finished with 8 points. Kong Lee chipped in 7 points. Cody Stringer scored 4 points.
Ernsberger led Verona with 23 points. Wesley Kissinger splashed in 18 points. Estrada chipped in 15 points. Von Hauenstein scored 8 points. Larry Patterson added 2 points. Seth Losack finished with 1 point.
Verona hosts Wheaton Friday night at 5:30 p.m.