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Verona takes fifth in Walnut Grove tourney

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Verona Wildcats basketball team (7-6) took fifth place in the annual Walnut Grove Holiday Tournament.

Verona opened the tournament with a 72-38 victory over Halfway.

The Wildcats faced Fordland in the second round and fell 49-42.

"We trailed by 2 with two minutes remaining and missed some shots down the stretch to take the lead or stay even," said Verona coach Brad Stewart. "I was pleased with the way our bench players, Justin Smith, Dre Sitton and Seth Hilton, stepped up when we were hit with foul trouble and the balance we had in scoring."

Scoring for Verona: Dalton Miller, 11 points; Tomas Estrada, 8; Ascencion Estrada and Smith, 7 each; Seth Losack, 6; and Hilton, 3.

Third round

The Wildcats rebounded from the setback with a 49-46 victory in the third round over Niangua.

"We went from down 8 points at the end of first quarter to up 8 points in the third," said Stewart. "We played really well the last three quarters."

Ascencion Estrada had an offensive rebound put-back that led to a 3-point play, and Losack was four for four from the line late in the fourth quarter to seal the win.

For Verona, Ascencion Estrada scored 24 points, added six rebounds, hit five 3-pointers and had three steals; Losack recorded 15 points and seven assists; Tomas Estrada, 8 points; Dalton Miller, 2; and Brent Downs, 5 rebounds.

Fifth place

Verona earned a berth into the fifth place contest and collected a 49-39 win over host Walnut Grove.

"We controlled the game from start to finish," said Stewart. "For the tournament, we allowed 43 points per game which is outstanding."

The Wildcats execution was impressive, according to Stewart.

"(Seth) Losack controlled the game with Tomas (Estrada) from the top (of the key) making great passes to both wings," said Stewart. "(Dalton) Miller and Ascencion (Estrada) hit their shots. Brent Downs and Justin (Smith) set key screens to open up the wings it was really a total team effort."

Scoring for Verona: Seth Losack, 14 points; Tomas Estrada, 12; Ascencion Estrada and Miller, 9 each; Downs, 3; and Justin Smith, 2.

Losack had seven assists. Tomas Estrada hit six of his eight attempted shots. Ascencion Estrada and Downs made three 3-pointers each.

The Wildcats travel to College Heights on Jan. 4. Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m.

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