Verona girls down Wheaton, boys fall in OT
It was a mixed bag of results for Wheaton High School basketball on Dec. 7.
The Bulldogs (3-3) clipped Verona (3-3) 52-50 in overtime to salvage a split in the Ozark 7 Conference doubleheader.
Wheaton senior Jory Bartkoski sent the game into overtime with a layup as time expired and then hit the game-winning jumper with 28 seconds remaining in the extra session.
"Tonight was the first time Jory was himself," said Wheaton coach Rusty Roe. "He had been battling injuries, and tonight, he showed what he could do when healthy."
The Bulldogs spoiled a career scoring night for Verona senior guard Seth Losack who had 27 points.
"Seth's game at the guard position is one of the best that I have seen as a coach," said Verona skipper Brad Stewart. "He is a great leader on the floor. I thought we took good shots coming down the stretch; we just couldn't get them to go down."
Wheaton started the game strong, leading 13-7 after the first period and 21-18 at halftime.
Every time the Wildcats seemed poised for a big run, the Bulldogs answered.
Verona's first lead of the contest came at the 3:33 mark of the third period on Justin Smith's trey from the right baseline.
Verona closed the third period with a 9-3 run to lead 29-23 at the start of the final quarter.
The Wildcats' Ascencion Estrada opened the fourth period with a layup to give Verona a 31-25 lead.
Wheaton quickly responded with a 9-4 push to pull within 1 point at 35-34 with 4:06 left in regulation.
Verona twice extended the lead (39-36, 43-39), only to watch Matt Hickman and Justin Yeary hit 3-pointers to prevent the Wildcats from pulling away.
Leading 43-42, Verona had two opportunities to salt the game away in the final 10 seconds but could only connect on one of three free throw attempts.
Wheaton grabbed the rebound on the final Wildcat miss. Bartkoski took the outlet pass and raced down the left side of the court laying the ball through the cylinder just before time expired to force overtime.
The Wildcats built a 50-46 lead in the extra session with 1:25 remaining in the contest.
"Our defense played great all night," said Roe. "Even when we trailed late, we felt like we could hold them because of our defensive intensity."
The Bulldogs responded with a 6-0 run with 4 points by Hickman and Bartkoski's connecting on a five-foot jumper with 28 seconds left.
Verona came up just short, missing two shots in the final seven seconds, including a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Scoring for Wheaton: Bartkoski, 15 points; Yeary, 13; Hickman, 9; Chase Cantwell, 7; Justin Walker, 6; and Tyler Musick, 2.
Scoring for Verona: Losack, 27 points; Ascencion Estrada, 11; Tomas Estrada, 4; Smith and Brent Downs, 3 apiece; and Dalton Miller, 5.
On Dec. 4, Wheaton fell to the Pierce City Eagles 55-46.
The Eagles exploded for 24 points in the fourth quarter to rally past the Bulldogs.
Wheaton led 8-7 after the first quarter and outscored the Eagles 19-14 in the second period to lead 27-21 at halftime.
The Eagles trimmed the deficit to 6 points in the third frame, outpacing Wheaton 10-9 to trail 36-31 to start the final period.
Scoring for Wheaton: Yeary, 11 points; Darrell Burns, 10; Cantwell, 8; Musick, 6; Bartoski and Walker, 4 each; and Hickman, 3.
Scoring for Pierce City: Cedric O'Hara, 19 points; Cody Fitchpatrick, 12; Kole Kelley, 11; Zack Hyde, 7; and Colton Drollinger, 6.
The Verona Lady Wildcats earned a 43-24 victory over the Lady Bulldogs in the first game of the Dec. 7 tilt.
Verona (3-3) jumped out to a 8-2 lead and watched as Wheaton (0-2) responded with a 10-6 run to close the frame.
The Lady Wildcats clung to a 14-12 lead to start the second period.
"We are a very young team," said Wheaton coach Jason Webb. "I was really proud of the way our girls responded in that first period. The main goal for us is to play more games and grow as a team."
The Lady Wildcats clamped down in the second quarter, outscoring Wheaton 8-2 in the period. Shelby Barsotti led the way for the purple and gold with 6 points in the frame.
"We played hard and played as a team for 32 minutes tonight," said Verona coach Ryan Yates. "I would like to see us be more consistent on the offensive end. We have several players learning new roles; we need to play more."
The Lady Wildcats extended their advantage in the third quarter, outperforming the Lady Bulldogs 14-2 in the frame to lead 37-16 to start the fourth quarter.
Scoring for Wheaton: Amanda Munday and Shelby Medley, 10 points each; and Kelly Alvarado and Brittany Harmon, 2 apiece.
Scoring for Verona: Barsotti, 14; Jessica Youngberg, 11; Taylor Pinkly, 8; Tori Pinkly, 6; and Leann Hesemann, 4.
Both Wheaton squads travel to Purdy on Dec. 13. Tipoff is slated for 5:30 p.m.