Coach Stewart got his answer immediately as the Wildcats (5-5) rolled to a 72-38 victory.
Verona used intense defensive pressure to jumped out to a 10-0 lead to start the game. With continued defensive pressure, Verona held a commanding 25-9 lead at the end of the first quarter and never looked back.
Along with the stifling defense, the Wildcats also displayed some solid shooting en route to their win over Halfway (0-7). Eight different Wildcats scored for Stewart, including 24 points coming from his bench.
"It was a great half.," Stewart said. "There was a letdown in the flow during the second half, but I think we continued to stay with our game plan, Ascencion Estrada had a really nice game. He shot the ball well."
Estrada led a balanced Verona attack with 19 points, including 5 scores from beyond the arc.
Scoring for Verona: Seth Losack, 14 points; Seth Hilton, 9; Tomas Estrada and Cody Musick, 8 each; Justin Smith, 7; Brent Downs, 5; and Dalton Miller, 2.
Verona will continue play in the Walnut Grove Holiday Tournament when they face Fordland at 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 27.