The Verona High School basketball teams moved into the second round of the sectional tournament on Thursday. The boys team suffocated Wood-Ridge on the defensive side for all four quarters in what was a 79-31 win for the Hillbillies. The girls came up unexpectedly short against Saddle Brook, falling 37-28.
Verona’s boys team jumped out to an early lead, outscoring the Devils 23-7 in the first quarter and they did not let up for the rest of the game, with the final score being the biggest lead the Hillbillies held. Senior Travis Jocelyn got the Verona student section rowdy early, recording five blocks in the first five minutes of the game. Jocelyn also had 11 points in the first quarter. Verona’s most productive quarter came in the third when they held the Wood-Ridge offense to one three pointer and a foul shot and the Hillbillies tallied 23 points.
The high scorer for Verona was junior Andrew Siegelin who had 16 points, eight of them being in the fourth quarter. Jack Farrell and Jocelyn both had 13 while Zack Zaccone dropped 12. Thursday’s win advanced Verona into the North 1 Group 1 semifinal on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. They will host Bogota High School at VHS.
The girls team started their playoff game strong against Saddle Brook, and ended the first half up 19-15 after a long outside shot by Kaitlyn Deo. But the Falcons came back energized from the break and controlled the second half.
Don’t count this team out, however. While all but two of the boys team’s players graduate with the Class of 2017, the majority of the Verona girls will be back next year. Brianna Horton, who has stellar ball control and was the game’s high scorer with seven points, is only a sophomore, as are Cecilia Courter and Amber Reed, who showed no fear on defense or offense. Desiree Meyer, who had six points yesterday, is a junior and Kylee Gallagher, who was a standout in the opening game against Palisades Park, is just a freshman.
[ngg_images source=”galleries” container_ids=”282″ display_type=”photocrati-nextgen_pro_masonry” size=”180″ padding=”10″ ngg_triggers_display=”always” captions_enabled=”0″ captions_display_sharing=”1″ captions_display_title=”1″ captions_display_description=”1″ captions_animation=”slideup” order_by=”sortorder” order_direction=”ASC” returns=”included” maximum_entity_count=”500″]