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Basketball, Hockey, Wrestling Have Holiday Tournaments


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Brianna Horton is averaging more than nine points per game this season.
There may be no school in Verona during the week between Christmas and New Year’s, but there is plenty of sports action, with holiday tournaments for basketball, hockey and wrestling.

The hockey team that Verona High School fields in combination with Glen Ridge kicks things off Tuesday afternoon with a game against Old Tappan at the Codey Arena in West Orange. The puck drops at 5:15 p.m. VGR will then face Mendham Boro on Wednesday night at 7:15 p.m. before rounding out the week with a contest against Mountain Lakes on Friday at 12:15 p.m.

VGR is already 4-2-4 on the season, with a massive 10-0 win over Pequannock on December 21. The team includes Verona players Sean DeCandia, Jarrod Keating, Harrison Keating and Dylan Ruggiero. DeCandia already has five goals to his credit this season, while Jarrod Keating has four.

On Thursday, the basketball teams hit the court at Caldwell University for their traditional Holiday Classic. The VHS varsity girls are up first at 1:30 p.m. against West Essex, while the boys have a 3 p.m. start against Caldwell. The finals will be on Saturday, December 30, at Caldwell University, but game times have not yet been posted.

Last winter ended with a promising VHS girls basketball team falling short in the second round of the state sectional tournament. Almost all of this year’s team are returnees from last year, and they’ve got a 2-2 record so far. Cecila “CC” Courter, now a senior, is back, flanked by juniors Brianna Horton and Desiree Meyer. (Amber Reed suffered an injury in pre-season play). Meyer, who ended last season with 231 points, seems on track to once again be the team’s high scorer, with 51 points to her credit so far. Horton, seen in action above, is averaging more than nine points per game, and put up 17 points in Verona’s December 23 loss to Scotch Plains-Fanwood.

This season may be a rebuilding time for the boys basketball team. In March, the 2016-2017 Verona Hillbillies won their first state championship in 60 years and in June, almost all of the team graduated. Joe Zecchino is back, however, along with Andrew Siegelin and Garrett Percevault. Zecchino is leading the charge for Verona, with an average of more than 27 points per game so far. The VHS boys are 1-2 on the season.

There will be a huge wrestling tournament on Saturday, with Verona going up against Cedar Grove, Clifton, Parsippany, Parsippany Hills, St. Benedict’s Prep, Union, Wayne Hills, Wayne Valley at Parsippany High School. The giant meet starts at 9 a.m. VHS has yet to win a meet this season, but senior John Gabriele has two pins to his credit, as does junior Nick Riggio.

And finally, we’d be remiss if we didn’t give a shout-out to Owen Fogarty, who last week cleared 12 feet in the pole vault, putting him atop the SEC Liberty Division.

Photo copyright Jeff Stiefbold. Used by permission.

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