The Verona Wildcats advanced to the semi-finals of the Missouri Class 1, District 4 playoffs with a solid 68-44 victory over Lutie Tuesday night.
"We played strong tonight," said Verona Head Coach Brad Stewart. "We hit shots early to establish a lead. It was nice to see Ascencion Estrada hit four 3-pointers."
Verona led 19-12 after one quarter of play and built a 34-23 halftime advantage. The Wildcats outscored the Indians 22-9 in the third frame to put the game away.
"We were able to pressure the ball," said Stewart. "Anytime you can speed a team up and force turnovers you are pleased as a coach."
Cody Ernsberger led the Wildcats in scoring with 24 points. Also scoring for Verona were: Wesley Kissinger, 14 points; Estrada, 12 points; Seth Losack and Nick Washam, 8 points each; and James VonHauenstein, 2 points.
Verona will face Hurley on Friday night in Branson at 7:30 p.m.
Hurley defeated Verona 49-48 on Jan. 13.
"We have got to hit the boards hard," said Stewart. "Hurley is a different team than the one we saw earlier this year. The key for us is to eliminate their second chance opportunities."