A solid season came to a disappointing end for the Verona Lady Wildcats last Wednesday, as the fourth-seeded team in Class 2, District 11 fell in the semifinals to the eventual champion Miller Lady Cardinals.
As the number four seed facing a team that lost just five times throughout the season, the Lady Wildcats came in knowing there was a tough task ahead of them, and an early scoring drought didn't make things any easier. More than half of the first quarter had already passed before Verona finally put points on the board. By the end of the first period, Miller's lead was already a significant 15 point margin.
The Verona offense fared better in the second, limiting turnovers and scoring more than three times its total from the first quarter. But the Miller offense kept rolling as well, with the Lady Wildcats looking at times unable to get a defensive stop at all.
By the time Verona senior Twilah Carrasquillo sank a two-point shot at the halftime buzzer, the Lady Wildcats trailed 36-21.
Miller widened the lead in the third quarter, taking advantage of several second chances following offensive rebounds. With one quarter to play, Verona faced a 50-32 deficit.
Not willing to go out without a fight, Carrasquillo led the team to get back within 10 points of the lead with five minutes to go. Unfortunately for the purple and gold, Miller's outside shooting was on the money, quickly putting the game again out of reach for the underdog Verona team. With the starters out in the final minute, the Lady Cardinals finished off the Lady Wildcats by a score of 70-48.
In her final game for Verona, Carrasquillo finished with 28 points, adding to her all-time school record with well over 2,000 total. Junior Carolina Castillo added six to the Verona effort, while sophomore Paige Bauer added five. Seniors Rita Castillo and Gwyneth Henson finished with three and two points, respectively, in their final games for the Lady Wildcats. Sophomore Sydney Gamroth and freshman Yoselin Martinez added two points each as well.
Coach Brandon Weiss led the team to an overall record of 18-9 in his first season as head coach. While the team will undoubtedly miss the production and leadership provided by Carrasquillo and Castillo over the past four seasons, next year's squad will have plenty of experience and talent left over to be competitive.