Verona High School re-opens from the holiday break on Tuesday with a few more testaments to its athletic strength.
The VHS girls basketball team opened the Holiday Classic among teams from the western part of Essex County, and did not disappoint. They ran up a 46-36 win over West Essex in the first round before dominating Caldwell 39-24 in the final. Brianna Horton earned the tournament MVP honors with 27 points, six rebounds, five assists and five steals. Desiree Meyer had 16 points in the final and another eight in the opening round, while CC Courter had 11 points and five assists against the Knights, and nine points and seven rebounds against the Chiefs. The girls’ next game will be Wednesday against Irvington High School, in Irvington.
The boys basketball team kicked off their tournament with a dominating 49-29 victory over Caldwell. Joe Zecchino, one of the few returnees from last year’s state championship team, led the Verona effort with 19 points, and Andrew Siegelin was close behind with 16 points. But the Verona boys came up just three points short against Cedar Grove in the finals. Zecchino fired out a game-high 20 points, but the final score was Panthers 40, Hillbillies 37. The boys travel to Weequahic on Wednesday for a night game. One other boys hoops achievement to note: Verona’s JV team won the JV Holiday Tournament with a 42-36 victory over Cedar Grove in overtime.
In hockey, the Verona-Glen Ridge hockey team swept the Essex County Tournament at the Codey Arena with a 5-2 win over Old Tappan, followed by 4-2 defeat of Mendham and a 2-0 final over Mountain Lakes-Boonton. Sean DeCandia, a senior from the Verona side of the team, had three goals in tournament play: two over Mendham, followed by one against Mountain Lakes-Boonton. Jarrod Keating, a VHS junior, had one against Old Tappan and another against Mendham. VGR’s record now stands at 7-2-4. VGR is not back in action until Sunday, January 7.
The VHS wrestling team earned a collection of medals at the Gary Vittorio Holiday Tournament. Frank Gabriele won the 145-lb. bracket, while his brother John Gabriele took silver at 152. Nick Riggio (160) and Billy Fauerbach (182) also took home silver medals.
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Photos copyright Jeff Stiefbold. Used permission.