VERONA, NJ - The Verona and Cedar Grove Girls basketball teams showed their heart and determination in the fourth annual “Hoops For Hope” Basketball game with Verona coming away with a 32-28 overtime victory over Cedar Grove.

    While the game itself was exciting, the squads came together to support a greater cause. The fourth annual fundraiser, raised money for “Team Zoey” who’s goal is to raise $4 Million for trials on experimental drugs on Progeria, which is an accelerated aging disease.

    Both teams came in looking to gain a key victory with the State Tournament a little over a week away.

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    “We knew it was going to be a big game for us, the rivalry, the end of the year, we know them well, they know us well…this was huge for us and I’m glad we stuck it out,” said Verona Head Coach Jessica Schomaker.

    Both teams were knotted at 24 after regulation had ended in what was a defensive struggle. As time wound down in overtime Desiree Meyer, who had a tough time scoring connected on the go ahead layup for Verona.

    “I told [Meyer] it’s not always going to be us winning because you hit a three point shot, the team won because of that layup and it propelled us,” said Schomaker.

    Verona with a tight two point lead elected to put the ball in the most capable hands of Brianna Horton. Horton wound out the clock with her superior ball handling skills and subsequent foul shots. Horton closed out the contest with a game-high 15 points.

    “This win is very important, we were on a losing streak so this helps with our confidence towards the end of our season,” said Horton.

    Verona’s victory overshadowed a solid performance from the Cedar Grove squad, who dropped to 15-7 on the year. Ryan Cannataro collected a team-high 13 points for the Panthers.

    “I’m really proud of the way the girls played, it was a great game, Verona played real well down the stretch,” said Cedar Grove Head Coach Bill Scanlon.

    Cedar Grove’s loss drops the group to .500 over their last four games. They will look to get back on the winning path with a game against Montclair Kimberly Academy on Thursday,

    “We’re getting better, we are working on things…all in all I’m very happy with them,” said Bill Scanlon.

    Verona’s victory snaps a three game losing streak for the Hillbillies. The Verona team improves to 15-6 on the season and will look to roll into the playoffs with one final regular season game against Scotch Plains-Fanwood on Thursday.

    “We’re a good team, if we continue to play like we were at the beginning of the year we could definitely be a dark horse [in the State Tournament],” said Schomaker.

All photos by Nick Teodoro.

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.

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