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Verona teams fall in district title games

Friday, March 2, 2012

Pull-up jumper. Verona senior Cody Ernsberger scores a basket over Hurley's Tyler Simpson during Thursday night's Class 1, District 4 championship game. [Times Photo by Melissa Leech]
The Verona High School basketball squads endured a rough night on the hardwood in the Class 1, District 4 championships on Thursday night at Rogersville.

The Wildcats fell 82-74 to Hurley, and the Lady Wildcats were defeated 59-46 by Chadwick.

Thursday night marked the first time since the 1996-97 season that both the boys' and girls' teams reached the district championship game.

Making her move. Shelby Barsotti, a sophomore at Verona, drives toward the basket during the Class 1, District 4 title game at Rogersville on Thursday. Barsotti scored 4 point in the contest. [Times Photo by Melissa Leech]
The Wildcats, seeded first in the tournament, were seeking their first title since 2008 and faced the third-seeded Hurley Tigers. Verona already owned a 57-50 victory over the Tigers on Jan. 12 and were looking for win number two over the Tigers.

To say that Hurley was ready to play would be an understatement. The Tigers roared out of the gates and grabbed a 8-0 lead in the first 45 seconds. The Wildcats battled to within three points at 10-7, but a 16-5 run gave Hurley a 26-12 lead after one quarter of play.

In the second period, Hurley's Tyler Simpson went wild. Simpson scored 15 of his game-high 36 points in the second period as the Tigers took a 46-31 lead into halftime.

Rebound. Verona's Tristan Carrasquillo fights for a loose ball as her teammatea come to help during Thursday night's district title game. [Times Photo by Melissa Leech]
"Hurley shot the ball tremendously well," said Verona coach Brad Stewart. "The ball bounced their way tonight. Their shots were rolling in and ours rolled out."

Verona mounted a small comeback in the third period behind seniors Wesley Kissinger and Cody Ernsberger, who combined for a 14-point push in the period. Verona trailed 60-49, heading into the final period.

The Wildcats trimmed the margin to as little as six at 77-71 with 30 seconds left, but the Tigers hit enough free throws to secure the win.

Jump ball. Hurley's Josh Flood and Verona's Wesley Kissinger battle for possession of a rebound during the Class 1, District 4 title game Thursday night. [Times Photo by Melissa Leech]
"I told the boys and our seniors that they worked hard to get Verona basketball back to where it needed to be, playing for district titles," said Stewart. "Seventy-four points will usually get you a win in high school but not tonight. We need to work hard in the gym this off-season to get better."

The Wildcats finished the season with a 13-14 record.

Scoring for Hurley were: Simpson, 36; Jalyn Wilson, 18; Josh McClendon, 11; Josh Flood, 10; and T.J. Gold, 4.

Scoring for Verona were: Kissinger and Ernsberger, 24 each; Seth Losack, 14; Tomas Estrada, 9; and Nick Washam and Dalton Miller, 2 each.

Verona girls

The Verona Lady Wildcats fell to top-seeded Chadwick 59-46. Verona was seeking its first district title since 2009.

For three quarters neither team amassed a lead larger than five points. The Lady Cardinals led 16-13 after one quarter, but Verona rallied to tie the game at 25-25 by intermission. Chadwick held a 37-35 at the start of the fourth period.

"I am proud of my girls and the effort they put forth tonight," said Verona coach Ryan Yates. "We executed our game plan. Chadwick is a good team. They made one run on us, and that was the difference."

The Lady Cardinals scored on their first possession of the fourth quarter and stole the Verona inbounds pass for two more points. The 4-0 run quickly bloomed into an 11-0 run that proved to be too great a deficit for the Lady Wildcats to overcome.

Verona finished the season 15-11.

Scoring for Chadwick: Jaime Hale, 20; Hailey Stevens, 18; Matty Hursh, 13; Kailyn Rozell, 7; and Kelsey Ruhland, 2.

Scoring for Verona: Tristan Carrasquillo, 22; Taylor Pinkly, 10; Leann Hesemann, 7; and Shelby Barsotti and Jessica Youngberg, 4 each.

Carrasquillo finished her basketball career at Verona with 2,019 points and holds the Lady Wildcats' school record for points scored in a career.

"It was an honor to be called Tristan's coach," said Yates. "We will miss her as we try to get better for next year."

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