Montclair Kimberly Academy handed the Verona Girls’ Basketball team its first loss of the season in conference play last night, 41-40, at the Cougar’s court. Though the Hillbillies held a comfortable lead going into the second quarter, a series of controversial calls put starting forwards Michelle Petronaci and Amanda Langan on the bench in foul trouble for most of the quarter, and MKA went on a tear to end the half leading 25-16. Verona spent the third quarter playing catchup, ending the period at 30-30 on a buzzer shot by Julianne Mascera. The fourth quarter saw MKA trading field goals with Verona, despite the fact that two Verona starters, DonnaJo DiNorcia and Kara Bartow, fouled out early in the period. With one minute left, Petronaci put the Hillbillies up by one, 40-39. But an MKA bucket left Verona trailing by 1 with 33 seconds left; despite having possession, the Hillbillies failed to convert and were caught short at the buzzer. Petronaci had 19 and Langan 11; Verona residents Ashley Bishop and Lauren Morisseau had 13 and 2 points for MKA, respectively. The two teams will meet again on February 26th at home for Verona’s last regular-season game.