Verona's Cody Ernsberger's 18-foot contested jumper with three seconds left lifted the Wildcats to a 58-56 victory over Wheaton on Friday night.
"We showed some mental toughness during the game," said Verona coach Brad Stewart. "We hung in 'till the end to get a great conference win over an excellent undefeated Wheaton team on its home floor.
"Seth Losack really showed he is one of the top point guards in our league with the way he handled the pressure Wheaton put on us," continued Stewart. "He ran our team the whole night, and Cody showed great leadership and heart with his effort."
The Bulldogs jumped out to an 18-11 lead after the first quarter and led by as many as 10 points in the first half. The Wildcats battled back in the second period, outscoring Wheaton 17-13 to trail 31-28 at intermission. Verona was also hampered by injuries, and at one point four injured players were on the bench.
The Wildcats continued to heat up in the second half, outperforming the Bulldogs 15-9 in the third quarter to take a 43-40 advantage into the fourth quarter.
|Ernsberger finished the game with 23 points, scoring 12 of Verona's 15 fourth-quarter points, including the game winner. Losack added a double-double for Verona with 10 points and 10 assists.||Nick Washam chipped in 11 points despite sitting out part of the game due to injury. Wesley Kissinger contributed 10 points in the first half before leaving the game with an injury. Larry Patterson added 2 points, and Brent Downs came off the bench to provide 2 points and 6 rebounds.|
"The boys reminded me after the game that I told them they would have to handle some adversity, and I give them credit we never gave up even when the score and our injuries made the outlook seem less than favorable," said Stewart. "Hopefully, we will use this as we move forward. It was a team win."
Wheaton won the JV game 42-36. Dalton Miller led Verona with 8 points.
The Wildcats will be in action on Friday at Golden City. The game is set to begin at 6 p.m.