Nowhere was that statement any truer than at the Spokane Invitational consolation basketball semifinal between Verona and Cassville on Jan. 18
For 30 of the game's 32 minutes the smaller Class 1 Verona team led, frustrated and outplayed the Class 4 Cassville squad.
Verona used speed and determination to outhustle the sluggish Cassville squad in the first period. However, the south Barry County squad was able to keep the score tied 11-11 at the end of the first frame.
Verona outscored Cassville 15-10 in the second frame to take a 26-21 lead.
A neutral observer would have expected the Cassville squad to take over the game with their advantage in height, muscle and bench depth, yet the black and gold Wildcats could only shave 3 points off Verona's lead in the third period to trail 33-30.
Cassville's biggest break came with 4:57 left in the contest when Verona's biggest player 5'11" sophomore center Tomas Estrada fouled out.
Cassville's boys trailed 39-36 and quickly went on a 4-0 run to take a 40-39 lead with 2:57 remaining.
A basket by Brent Downs with 2:25 allowed Verona to take a 41-40 lead.
However, free throws by Ethan Lowery and Logan Scott gave Cassville a 43-41 edge.
Verona had three chances to tie or take the lead in the final 30 seconds.
When the final horn sounded Verona knew they had let one slip away.
Scoring for Cassville: Lowery, 12 points; Cole Beagle, 11; Jordan Shore, 10; Scott, 6; Connor Redmon, 3; and Ty Craig, 1.
Scoring for Verona: Ascencion Estrada, 17 points; Tomas Estrada and Justin Smith, 6 each; Dalton Miller and Seth Losack, 5 each; and Brent Downs, 2.