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Verona splits varsity tilts with Exeter

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

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Times Photo by Jared Lankford Career night. Brent Downs scored 17 points during the Verona Wildcats 50-42 victory over Exeter on Dec. 4. The 17 points was a varsity career high for Downs.
The Verona Wildcats and Lady Wildcats basketball teams split an Ozark 7 Conference doubleheader with Exeter on Dec. 4.

The Wildcats (3-2, 1-0) won the nightcap 50-42 over the Tigers (1-3, 0-1) behind 17 points from Brent Downs.

The Lady Wildcats (2-2, 0-1) couldn't hold a late lead and fell 43-37 to the Lady Tigers (1-0, 1-0).

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Times Photo by Jared Lankford Defense. Exeter's Rayanna Fare has her drive cutoff by Verona's Taylor Pinkly during the Ozark 7 Conference opener on Dec 4.
Verona jumped out to a 15-0 lead in the game's first three minutes behind baskets from Ascencion Estrada, Dalton Miller, Downs, Seth Losack and free throws from Dre Sitton.

Frustrated with his team's start, Exeter Coach Jay Allen sent five subs into the game two minutes after the tipoff.

"It all comes down to coaching," said Allen. "I didn't do a good enough job to get us ready to play."

(Photo)
Times Photo by Jared Lankford Making his move. Verona senior guard Seth Losack cuts to the basket during the first quarter of the Wildcats victory over Exeter on Dec. 4.
The Tigers finally got on the board when Austin Johnson hit a five-foot jump shot with 4:48 to play in the first period.

The Wildcats held a 24-10 edge after the first frame.

Exeter hung tough in the contest and opened the second period with a 6-0 run to trim the lead to 24-16 with 4:36 left in the half.

(Photo)
Times Photo by Jared Lankford For three. Verona sophomore Tessa Bilyeu attempts a 3-pointer during the lady Wildcats contest against Exeter. The lady Wildcats face Wheaton on Dec. 7.
Verona responded, and outscored the Tigers 8-4 to lead 32-20 at the break.

"I thought we played an all-around good game," said Verona coach Brad Stewart. "Brent (Downs) played the best game of his career and showed that he can be a scoring option. We jumped out early and put the pressure on Exeter to respond."

Verona, has quickly forged an identity for playing a gritty and grinding defensive style.

The third quarter was, in a word, ugly. Several missed shots and turnovers plagued both teams.

The Wildcats' pressure defense held Exeter to two made free throws, one each by Colten Stringer and Kong Lee in the third period.

Verona scored 8 points in the third period to take a 40-22 lead into the final quarter.

The Tigers had no intention of going quietly.

Exeter opened the final quarter with a 14-5 run to close the gap to 36-45 with 3:40 left in the game.

However, a basket by Losack and a layup by Downs kept the Tigers from closing the gap completely.

"I told the boys that I would much rather be the team protecting the 18-point lead than trying to play catch up," said Stewart. "It is always good to get a conference win. The boys played well tonight."

Scoring for Exeter: Johnson, 11 points; Lee, 9; James Kho, 7; Ty Pendergraft and Stringer, 4 each; Blake Walker, 3; and Kyle Evatt and Terry Cook, 2 apiece.

Scoring for Verona: Downs, 17 points; Ascencion Estrada and Sitton, 9; Losack, 8; Tomas Estrada, 4; and Dalton Miller, 3.

Verona girls

In the varsity girls contest, the Lady Wildcats took a 37-36 lead with 1:50 left in the game but were outscored 7-0 the remainder of the way to fall 43-37 to Exeter.

The two conference opponents played to a 3-3 tie after one quarter of play.

Exeter opened the second period with a 9-0 run before Taylor Pinkly's free throw ended the run with 2:30 left in the half.

The Lady Tigers took a 18-12 lead into intermission.

"I thought we played well as a team and looked pretty good at times," said Verona coach Ryan Yates. "We need to work on being more consistent, eliminating opponent's second chance points and our execution."

The Lady Wildcats stepped up the pressure in the third period twice trimming the deficit to two points (25-23, 27-25) only to see Exeter hit shots to reestablish a four-point cushion.

The Lady Tigers led 33-27 to open the fourth period.

Verona, behind a basket from Hannah Hilton and 6 points from Pinkly, allowed Verona to grab a 1-point, 37-36 lead.

Kitana Gregory, responded for Exeter with two free throws to give the Lady Tigers the lead for good.

Scoring for Exeter: Logan Senters, 14 points; Bailey Bowman, 11; Gregory, 7; Rayanna Fare, 4; Rylie Odenbrett, 3; and Hannah Henson and Katie Peck, 2 each.

Scoring for Verona: Taylor Pinkly, 17; Tori Pinkly, 6; Jessica Youngberg, 5; Shelby Barsotti, 4; and Hilton, 2 points.

Both Verona squads travel to Wheaton on Dec. 7. Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m.



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