VERONA, NJ - The Verona boys basketball team failed to overcome a poor beginning to the fourth quarter resulting in a 52-48 loss to Orange on Thursday.
“I think it was one we could have had. We were a little flat in the first half, I bet we didn’t shoot that well,” said Head Coach Eric McElroy.
Both teams entered the fourth quarter tied at 30 with the game in the balance. The Orange squad capitalized on a handful of Hillbilly turnovers to go on a 12-2 scoring run that ultimately changed the game.
“A lot of unforced turnovers and you can’t be doing that against teams like Orange…Orange is good, they came to play,” said McElroy.
Verona showed their heart late in the fourth making the game uncomfortably close for their counterparts. Andrew Emanuilidis and Nick Gonzalez each hit big shots to cut the lead to within one possession.
“It was a nice spurt, they showed some heart at the end,” said McElroy.
Ultimately the Orange squad was confident in their abilities at the free throw line to close out the contest.
“We’ve got to be a little bit better with the basketball,” said McElroy.
Although he struggled at several points in this particular game, Gonzalez finished the contest with 15 points, second only to Emanuilidis. Gonzalez has produced double digits in scoring for four straight games for Verona.
“I’d like to see [Gonzalez] be a little more consistent. I know he’s a better shooter than that, but he’s been getting some points…we definitely need him to score,” said McElroy.
Verona’s loss drops the team to 5-5 on the season as they look to get back on the winning track. The Hillbillies have dropped four of five games, but nobody will take pity on them according to their coach.
“There're no breathers in our schedule. Every night it’s tough…it’s going to take a toll on them, and they need to realize it’s a marathon not a race, so we’ll string together a few in a row,” said McElroy.
The Hillbillies will have the chance to get back in the winning column when they take on Newark Academy on Saturday.
TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove is an online newspaper serving the Townships of Verona and Cedar Grove. TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove is accredited by the New Jersey Press Association, and is a locally owned news organization serving the community.