Boys Basketball: Verona Advances in Essex County Tourney with Decisive Win over Essex Vo-Tech

Jack Farrell goes for a layup in the ECT Preliminary Game against Essex County Vo-Tech Credits: Nick Teodoro
Greg Marlo carries the ball up court with a defender tightly covering him Credits: Nick Teodoro
Jack Farrell scored 15 points in Saturdays game. Credits: Nick Teodoro
Jack Farrell drives by his defender in Verona's blowout victory Credits: Nick Teodoro
Travis Jocelyn in an earlier game this season. Credits: Nick Teodoro

VERONA, NJ - A dominant second quarter effort by the Verona Boys Basketball Team against Essex County Vo-Tech at home on Saturday advances the team in the Essex County Tournament by a final score of 71-29.

“I think we’re sharing the ball a little bit better than we have. We’re running our [offense] better and we’ve spent a lot more time on that. Execution wise I think it’s been better [and] we’re getting better as a team,” Said Verona Head Coach Eric McElroy.

Verona took an insurmountable lead in the second quarter by clicking on both sides of the court. A multi-faceted attack consisting of scoring from Andrew Siegelin and Travis Jocelyn from the interior and the trio of Jack Farrell, Matt Zacchone and Zack Zacchone from the perimeter staked Verona to a 37-14 halftime lead.

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“We want to get everyone involved and when we pass it around the perimeter we’re going to catch everyone off guard and therefore we’ll have open guys for layups, mid range jumpshots and three pointers,” said Siegelin.

A particular spark was provided from Siegelin who continues to impress from off the bench. Siegelin collected eight of his twelve points in the second quarter for the Hillbillies. For Siegelin, his success is directly indicative of the role he was given to him by his coach.

“I’ve just got to come in and I’ve got to work. I have to work to earn the minutes and my position on this team. I have to work to get rebounds, I’ve got to get points and that’s the mentality I have to employ when I’m out there,” said Siegelin. 

Verona continued to cement their lead in the third quarter going on a 21 to 10 scoring run. Travis Jocelyn continued his successful season adding eight points in the third towards a game-high 18 points on the afternoon.

Verona is a team that prides itself on its defensive prowess, despite having a 34 point lead heading into the fourth they refuse to give up easy baskets. As substitute players came into the game the unit continued to succeed allowing just five additional points. The defense finished the game with double digit steals and blocks while allowing a mere 29 points.

“That’s been a big focal point of ours, keep your man in front, rotate over…they’re real good at rotating …it’s tough to stop,” said McElroy.

For Verona, the victory is their fifth in a row as the team improves to 12-4 on the season. The No.11 seeded Hillbillies will host the winner of the Irvington vs. Nutley game on February 9 at Verona High School.

“They have to keep doing what they’ve been doing, sharing the ball, playing good defense, wait for good looks and when you get them hopefully execute them,” said McElroy.

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