VERONA, NJ - The Hillbillies boys basketball team has their second winning streak of the young season following a 60-38 victory over Bernards on Monday.

    “It’s good to be home, it’s a game we want to have at home…we shot the ball pretty good, we ran our offense ok,” said Head Coach Eric McElroy.

    Verona pulled away with a strong second quarter effort. The Hillbillies produced a 16-2 run for the quarter propelled by the pinpoint shooting of Andrew Emanuilidis and Derek Jocelyn. 

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    “We started to heat up a little bit, we were running our plays, hitting our screens, and we started hitting threes,” said Emanuilidis.

    Emanuilidis was hot from the second quarter on. The senior, who is making his way back into basketball game shape after an elongated football season, scored 10 of his game-high 27 points in the second quarter to help Verona to a 16-point halftime lead.

    “It was the first game where I actually felt back…my shot felt great, it set up some drives so it felt good,” said Emanuilidis. 

    For the Hillbillies this season has been playing the hot hand, whoever that may be. In this game it was Emanuilidis who has now scored in double digits for three consecutive games.

    “[Emanuilidis] was great…he was almost matching them point for point.  He was hitting threes, he had a nice pull up, and he scored under the rim with some great put backs.  It was a very great game,” said McElroy

    Verona continued their onslaught of the Mountaineers in the third quarter. Nicholas Gonzalez came alive for the squad to help them on a 14-point scoring run. Gonzalez collected eight of his 11 points during this frame as he bounces back from a cold streak in the Holiday Tournament.

    “[Gonzalez] has been kind of struggling a bit from three.  We’ve been on him to find his points some other ways under the rim and at the foul line…he looked like he was more assertive with that and that made me happy,” said McElroy.

    Verona was able to pull away with a safe lead entering the fourth quarter. Gonzalez, Jocelyn, and others worked to allow additional minutes for the bench as the fourth quarter started.

    “It was a great game getting that win because we battled Cedar Grove real hard on Saturday and [Bernards] took Cedar Grove to overtime so we didn’t know if we’d have to battle again so it was nice pulling away,” said Emanuilidis.

    Verona’s victory improves the team to 4-1 on the season having won their last two games. The Hillbillies will look for their first three-game winning streak as they take on Nutley on Friday for their first game of 2020.

    “We have a tough one Friday with Nutley at Nutley.  They are going to run their stuff real well, they are athletic, it’s going to be a little different atmosphere on the road at night…it’s going to be a tough one and we’ll try and get ready for that one tomorrow,” said McElroy.

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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