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Suburban Champs Again!

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6thChamps-All​With a furious fourth-quarter charge, the Verona sixth grade girls Suburban Basketball team captured their second straight league championship last week with a victory over a resilient Millburn squad by a score of 37-35. Down 16 points in the third quarter, the Verona girls outscored Millburn 21-3 in the fourth quarter, mounting a comeback for the ages.

With one minute left. Melanie Naeris tied the game at 35 with a 3 pointer.
With one minute left. Melanie Naeris tied the game at 35 with a 3 pointer.
With a capacity like crowd at the Verona Community Center cheering every play, Verona recovered from a lackluster first half to tie the game with 30 seconds remaining. After Melanie Naeris tied the game at 35 with a 3 pointer with one minute left, a Millburn turnover and then foul, forward Megan Moran calmly knocked down the game-winning free throws with 8.1 seconds left to seal the two-point victory.

Megan Moran nailed the game-winning free throws with just 8.1 seconds left.
Megan Moran nailed the game-winning free throws with just 8.1 seconds left.
​The win capped a 14-2 season for the Verona girls, an amazing follow up to last years undefeated 14-0 championship season. Coach Jon Garcia played all 11 players in the very crucial game, ensuring that the team would have fresh legs down the stretch, where they dominated and pulled out the victory.

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“I am so proud of these girls, their heart, their desire, their dedication. This win shows the value of the teamwork and selflessness that these girls have demonstrated all year,” said Coach Garcia. “Our girls were able to overcome a huge deficit to a very good Millburn team by playing together and believing in each other. We are also thankful for the tremendous support we received from the Verona community, which provided a huge lift for us.”

Nia Chesney's backcourt play was key to the Verona victory.
Nia Chesney’s backcourt play was key to the Verona victory.

​Verona was led by the ferocious backcourt play of Nia Chesney and Melanie Naeris, and the towering and tenacious frontcourt play of Iviana Anderson, Megan Moran and Katie Hipp. The starters were spelled by forwards Britney Allteni and Katie Lonergan, who provided crucial rebounds and defensive stops. Sarah Cole and Olivia Garcia sparked the club off the bench, while Rene Schuldiner and Jacqui DeVivo kept the pressure on with key defensive plays.

Photos copyright Jeff Stiefbold. Used by permission.

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1 COMMENT

  1. What an amazing come back by the Lady Hillbillies – congratulations on your back to back championships.

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