A dominant performance by the Verona juniors was the difference in last Thursday's non-conference matchup between the Wildcats and Marionville Comets, as the home team rolled to a 60-40 win to move to 6-2 overall on the season.
The Wildcats took the lead early on buckets by juniors Caleb Hillhouse and Eddie Gutierrez before junior Laythen Utke scored to put the Comets on the board. Marionville kept it close, but the Wildcats led 16-13 after one quarter.
The offenses slowed somewhat in the second period, neither team managing to score 10 points, and the teams went to the halftime intermission with the score at 24-20 in the Wildcats' favor.
After the break, the Verona defense shut down the Comets almost completely, allowing just four points in the third quarter. The Wildcats took a comfortable 37-24 lead into the final period, in which they again outscored the Comets, thanks in part to four three-pointers.
The 60-40 loss was Marionville's third defeat on the season, all in road games outside the Mid-Lakes Conference.
Hillhouse led the way for Verona with 25 points on the night, while Gutierrez added 16 and junior Kolton Pinkly scored 15. Juniors Austin Valdez and Anthony Martinez recorded two points each.
On the Marionville side, junior Gavin Stanton and senior Ryan Mayberry finished with double-digit points, 12 and 10 respectively. Junior Josh Goodman added eight, while Utke and junior Dominick Clevenger scored four apiece. Junior Evan Dotson rounded out the scorebook for the Comets with two points in the fourth quarter.
Verona will compete over the holidays in the Walnut Grove Holiday Classic, starting with a contest against Miller on Saturday. Marionville will take the holiday break off and return to action on January 4 at Reeds Spring.