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Verona 8th Grade Girls Hustle
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Rockford Holiday Classic Small
Welcome to the Verona 8th Grade Girls Hustle Team Site

2005 Fall Classic
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Sunday, January 1
Rockford Holiday Classic (Dec 29th)

The final tournament of 2005 took place in Rockford, IL at the Rockford Wildcats Holiday Classic.

There were six club teams from Rockford, Kenosha and Chicago divided into two pools. We had not played any of these teams in the past so it would be interesting to see how we matched up.

The girls played very well in the play games winning the first game by 14 and the other by 29. What impressed me the most were the great passes that were made. The girls were looking for each other and made the extra pass to get the easier shot.

We had a bye in the first round of bracket games since we were the #1 seed from our pool. The team we beat by 29 (Chicago Lady Blues) in pool play won their next game to advance in the gold bracket so we had to face them again. This time it would be a 36 point margin (60-24) and we advanced to the championship game against the #1 seed from the other pool (Flodin Wildcats). Having watched this team play, we knew we would get a much better challenge in this game.

As we have done in the past a little too much, we got off to a slow start in this one. We were getting beat on the boards and out-hustled for loose balls. At one point early in the first half we found ourselves down by 14. We had been in this situation before and we knew if we cleaned up our game, we could get back into this one. After a time out, the girls battled back and got much more aggressive. They went on 14-7 run late in the first half to get within 5 at half.

At halftime, we talked about taking the game one possession at a time and that this game would come down to defense and controlling the boards. The two teams played pretty evenly throughout much of the second half however we did a much better job of limiting them to one shot and getting multiple opportunities on our end. As time was winding down we found ourselves within 2 points.

Flodin had the ball and made a strong move to the basket. Earlier in the tournament we talked about getting in position to take a charge and this was a perfect opportunity to do just that. An huge offensive foul was called so we got the ball. In our next possession we got a good look at scored to tie it up with less than a minute to go. Flodin brought the ball up, missed a shot we got the rebound with 23 seconds left. We called a time out to set up a play.

We wanted to run a double-screen play that had worked to perfection earlier in the day, but we wanted to take the last shot if this play wasn’t open. We in-bounded the ball and brought it up, but there was some confusion about which side to set the double-screen so the play never got established. The girls didn’t panic, however and with time running out we got a little penetration and kicked it out to Kelsey who was open beyond the arc. With 6 seconds left, she let it fly and nailed a 3 pointer!! Flodin got the ball in and attempted to get it down for a shot but the girls played great defense and prevented them from getting a shot off. A dramatic 41-38 come-from-behind win to finish the year with a championship! Great team effort girls!

2005 was another fine year for these ladies. I expect 2006 will be no different.

Happy New Year and best of luck with school ball this winter! We’ll reconvene after your school season to get ready for the state tournament in April.

Thursday, December 15
End of Season Tournament (Dec 9-10)

Our first game was Friday night in a rematch with McFarland who we faced in the first regular season game of the year. The last game was a defensive battle as we expected no less for this game. The first half was sloppy with many turnovers and defensive breakdowns. It seemed we were not ready to play at the start of the game for some reason. We found ourselves down 11-4 at half, but were confident that if we were a little more patient on offense and picked up our defensive intensity, we could take control of the game. If not, it would be a very close game.

The girls really stepped it up in the second half putting the clamps on McFarland to win 28-17 and advance to a semi-final game against Sauk Prairie Saturday afternoon.

We knew we would have our hands full against a talented Sauk team. In our first and only meeting early in the season we played very well and came away with a 10 point victory. We knew we would have to play very well again to have a chance at another win. The first half was closely contested and ended on a last second 3 pointer to give Sauk a 3 point lead at halftime. In the second half we were aggressive to the basket and got to the free throw line but unfortunately we could not convert on many of them. I estimated we shot around 2-15 from the line. This would prove to be difficult to overcome as Sauk built a 6 point lead late in the game. Because of the continuous clock, we were forced to foul. Sauk hit their free throws and secured an 11 point victory. It just goes to show how important free throws are and that we need to keep working on them.

All in all, a very nice season girls. You made progress in a lot of areas and gained valuable experience against good competition. As long as you continue to learn, work hard and keep a positive attitude, you will have many more successes in the future; both on and off the court. This is only the beginning!

Sunday, December 4
Week 6 (Dec 1-4)

This was the final week of league play featuring games against a Janesville team we had yet to play and a rematch with Oregon who gave us all we could handle the last time we played.

First up was Janesville. We knew very little about this team since they had not played in our league last fall or this summer. They didn’t have a lot of size, but that doesn’t always mean anything. The Verona ladies came ready to play and ran the half court trap very effectively, giving Janesville fits. We talked about controlling the boards since we had struggled with that this year at times and it has been something they have been working hard on. Verona limited Janesville to few shot attempts and when they did get one off, they usually had a Verona defender in close proximity making the shot difficult. They typically only got the one attempt and Verona got multiples on each trip resulting in a convincing 53-23 victory.

The final game of fall season was against a very scrappy Oregon team. The last time we play we were very fortunate to get the win with Oregon controlling the boards and generally out-hustling us. We expected they would play us very aggressively again and we talked about our number one goal being to make contact when shots went up. We knew if they out-rebounded us again it would make for a long day.

The first half was close all the way. We missed some close shots and they broke our press several times resulting in layups. Oregon was also able to get the ball into their post players who made some nice moves. The half ended with Oregon holding a slight advantage. At half we talked about fronting the posts better, pressuring the entry pass and making contact on the rebounds. The girls responded by denying the post entry much more effectively and controlling the boards. Verona was also much more patient in the second half against Oregon’s 131 zone. We were strong with the ball, sought contact to get to the foul line and, once there, shot very well. This turned out to be very important as the game ended in 49-40 win.

It was a great way to end regular season play! 12-2…not too shabby! ;)

Enjoy it, but let’s not be satisfied. Next up, the End of Season Tournament. If we take care of the little things and play aggressively, there is no reason we shouldn’t have a very good showing in the tournament.

Monday, November 21
Week 5 (Nov 18-19)

This week's games featured two teams we had beaten in our first meetings; Lafollette and Deerfield.

In our last meeting with Lafollette we jumped out to a big lead, but we knew this game would not be easy. This game was very competitive. Lafollette played very good pressure defense and handled our press much more effectively this game. We pressed the majority of the game and when you do that you take some chances. Unfortunately we gave them to many 3 on 2 or 2 on 1 situations against our press and they were able to convert on many of them. We just couldn’t get anything going on offense this game. We weren’t aggressive enough, didn’t take some shots when open and the shots we did take didn't want to fall. Also, we typically only got one opportunity as Lafollette controlled the glass on that end. Defensively we controlled the boards pretty well, but they hit a pretty high percentage of their shots and we did not. Still the game was tied with a couple of minutes to go and we had opportunities to take the lead, but it was not to be as the game ended in a 29-32 loss. This was disappointing, but a game we can and will certainly learn from.

Next, Deerfield came to town to try and avenge the loss at their place a few weeks ago. Again, we were not going to take this team lightly and we hoped the girls put yesterday’s game behind them. That they did. We talked about being more aggressive on the offensive end and getting back on defense if they broke the press. The Verona ladies worked the plan to perfection and limited Deerfield to very few possessions. On offense we were much more aggressive taking the ball to the paint and powering it up inside. We also took a look at the basket more this game and took the open shots when given the opportunity. As we have come to expect, this group of ladies showed a lot of character and stuck together after a tough day the day before. Verona controlled the game throughout and at one point in the second half Verona led by 27. Final 38-20.

There are only two more regular season games to go followed by the end of year tournament. If we take care of business, Verona will be positioned very well to make a strong run and possibly compete for the league championship. Stay tuned...

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!

Sunday, November 13
Week 4 (Nov 11-13)

This weekend featured three games. Our first game was Friday night at Madison West, a team that we have had success against in the past. For some reason, we just didn’t seem on top of our game this night as more that one player struggled handling and catching the ball. Every team has nights like this and you just hope you can find a way to fight through it and get the job done. Although we never felt in too much danger we could not put this team away. Madison West put up a very good fight and kept it close most of the way. The night ended in a 9 point victory but it was not easy by any means. I hope we weren’t looking past this team to our huge match-up with Monroe the following day, but that may help explain why we were kind of flat and the fact that West played very well.

On Saturday second place Verona (7-1) traveled to first place Monroe (6-0). This is always closely contested and going back to last season the series was tied at 2-2. The first half was a defensive battle with neither team able to generate much offense, which is quite unusual for both teams. One might think it was a hockey game if looking at the halftime score of Monroe 5 Verona 3. It goes to show if you play great defense you can be in every game.

In the second half, shots started falling and the girls attacked the paint much more aggressively. And like the first half, the Verona defense continued to smother the opponent. Verona also won the battle on the boards limiting Monroe to one shot per possession on most trips. It was quite an impressive second half as Verona put up 21 points to Monroe’s 9. Great team effort girls!!!

Sunday’s game featured the Janesville (Smith) team. We were a little concerned going into this game about having a let-down after the big game versus Monroe the day before. It would be another great test for this team to see if they could consistently perform at a high level and maintain focus on the task ahead. The Verona ladies did not disappoint. Right from the tip off, the girls hustled and ran the half court trap with precision even though we put a couple of players in new positions to see how they would react. Verona continued to display great defense/hustle and showed a lot of patience against Janesville’s 1-2-2 zone taking what the defense gave them. The ladies played very well all four quarters to seal a 42-25 victory. It was a very good day, even the Packers won!!!

A great 3-0 weekend ladies. Congratulations! I see no reason we can’t keep it going the rest of the way if we continue to focus and take care of the little things. We’re not done yet.

2005 Fall Classic

This tournament featured 16 of the top school-based teams in the state from all divisions. Four pools of four teams faced off with the top two from each pool advancing to an 8-team Championship bracket and the others to an 8-team Consolation bracket.

The first pool game was a hard fought battle against last year’s small-division state champion Osseo-Fairchild. The girls played excellent pressure defense which caused them fits and came away with a 34-33 victory. Next up was Ashwaubenon. Although we didn’t play quite as well this game, the girls still managed to get a 28-22 win. By winning the first two pool games, we seemed well on our way to getting to the Championship bracket. Only Cudahy stood in the way.

Up to this point the officiating had been very good but this game was out of control from the start. We got a bad draw on officials for this game!!! The officials made almost no calls (both ways) and it was getting to the point where someone was going to get hurt. Sure enough, one of our players was fouled hard and went down with an injury in the second quarter. No call. Shortly after that I was asked to make an exit after complaining to the referees and Cudahy was awarded four technical foul shots of which they made all four. Fortunately the girls kept their heads and fought them down to the wire. We couldn’t convert on some free throws at the end and they did. That combined with the 4 technical foul points was more than we could overcome resulting in a 37-32 loss.

Now there was a three-way tie in our pool and it would come down to point differential to determine who would advance to the Championship bracket. We came up a disappointing 2 points short. Although initially disappointed, the girls did not get down on themselves and came back the following day ready to go. There was still plenty to play for.

The first bracket game was versus Columbus and the girls took control from the start ending in a 35-22 victory. Next up was Wausau West. This turned out to be a close contest ending in a 29-27 win to get to the Consolation Championship game against Somerset. The girls were determined to finish strong and that they did. They sent a message loud and clear that they are a team to be reckoned with by jumping all over Somerset with a 42-15 victory. An excellent finish to a very good tournament run!

Osseo-Fairchild won the Championship bracket by 15 over Seymour. The Verona ladies should be very proud that they were the only team to beat them in the tournament.

Once again, you continue to impress. Congratulations!!

Full results can be found here:

Friday, October 28
Week 3 (Oct 27-30)

Thursday's game was against a very good Sauk team. In our three matchups last season Sauk took all three although each game was closely contested. This would be another good test to see how far the girls have come in a year. The first half was very intense ending in a Verona 2 point margin. In the second half the girls kept up their intensity and started to aggresivley attack in the paint. This proved to be very important as their best post player pick up her 4th foul early in the 4th quarter limiting her play. Once again the girls played outstanding team defense and rebounded well to limit Sauk's inside game. And the work on free throws is starting to show as they once again shot very well. Final 39-29. Great job!

Sunday's game is against an improved Oregon team that will no doubt play us very tough. Let's keep this train rolling!

Sunday’s game was against an Oregon team that has always given Verona a battle and this game would be no exception. I think they mark this game on their calendar as one that would really like to get. Tim and I were a little concerned that we would have a let-down following the big game against Sauk so we discussed this in our pre-game meeting. Did it help? Not sure.

The game started out slowly with neither team having much success on the offensive end. When our first rotation went in, they got things rolling and put us up by 10. But Oregon would not go away as they out-rebounded us by a large margin on both ends to keep the game close. They also answered with a couple of deep 3’s that cut our lead quickly.

Fortunately, we got some much-needed baskets and made some free throws down the stretch to fight them off for a hard-fought 37-33 victory. Had we boxed-out at all, I really don’t think it would have been that close. This is something we’ll definitely need to focus on if we want to have a good showing at the Fall Classic Tournament this coming weekend. We will work hard this week in practice to do just that. Get ready for some bangin’!

Sunday, October 23
Week 2 (Oct 21-22)

This week featured two away games; at Lafollette and at Deerfield. The ladies really came ready to play Friday night and jumped out nearly flawless 23-2 halftime lead over Lafollette. Our defense once again played at a very high level and our offense came alive scoring from inside and out...and free throw percentage was great! We pulled the press off sometime early in the first half. In the last few minutes of the game Lafollette hit a couple of 3's and turned up the defensive pressure to cause a few turnovers to make it closer. Final 38-23.

The game against Deerfield Saturday was nearly a complete opposite of the Lafollette game. We started slow and had trouble containing Deerfield with our press. Many of their first half baskets came as a result of breaking our press although neither team really lit it up. The first half ended with Verona up 1, 9-8. We pulled the press off in the second half and turned up our half court defense. The offense got rolling coming out of halftime by getting some nice penetration to the basket and making some excellent passes to the cutters. Free throws? Let's just say we need to keep working on them. :) Final 33-15

Great job girls! Let's get ready for a big matchup with Sauk Thursday night.

Monday, October 17
Week 1 (Oct 14-16)

The opening weekend of league play has been completed and the Verona ladies played very well overall. Friday night’s game against McFarland was a defensive battle. We got some good looks at the basket but nothing wanted to fall….just one of those games. Our defense was spectacular as the girls swarmed McFarland and limited them to very few shots and forced many turnovers. The offense got rolling later in the game and came away with a 25-14 victory.

Saturday we were once again matched up with Monroe. Unfortunately we had to play minus three players due to a previous soccer commitment and another player due to injury. Two seventh graders pitched in to help us out and they did a great job. Just like the last game, Monroe got out to an 8-0 lead. And just like last time, the girls battled back to keep it close all the way. Unfortunately some shots didn't fall and we were 1 for 13 on free throws, which turned out to be too much to recover from, and the game ended in a 36-41 loss. At least we know what we need to work on!

Sunday we played Janesville, a good team that we had only managed to beat once since playing in the Tri-county league, although all the games very competitive. This game would be no different. Three of our players expected to get back from their soccer tournament in time for this game but Chicago traffic didn’t cooperate and we started the game with 6 players. It was a fast paced game with many fouls and pretty soon we were down to 5 players when a player (I won’t mention any names) fouled out. Another girl had 4 fouls so she had to be very careful and could only play soft defense. We led for most of the game, but not by much. With about 3 minutes left in the game, the soccer contingent arrived and we put them in as soon as they got their shoes laced up. They did a great job considering they came in cold and hadn’t been able to use the rest room before playing. All the girls did a nice job of controlling the ball and making free throws down the stretch to escape with a 42-35 win. Nice job!

Next practice....300 ‘made’ free throws each! Bring your sleeping bags...we may be there a while. ;)

Tuesday, October 11
Great Start to the 2005 Season!

We're back in action and what a way to start!

The annual Tri-County Kickoff Tournament was held on October 8th at Stoughton High School. 10 teams registered including six 8th grade teams from our division (American Red). They included Deerfield, McFarland, Oregon, Madison West, Monroe and Verona.

The first game was against Deerfield. Verona controlled the game throughout although we could never quite put them away. Deerfield is a scrappy team with some excellent outside shooters. They nailed a 3 as time expired but we escaped with an 8-point victory (26-18).

Next, we were matched up with last year’s league champions, Monroe. We were the only team to beat them last year (by 1) and we lost the other game to them by 2 in double overtime. We knew we were in for another classic battle.

Monroe got out to an 8-0 lead before we knew what happened. After a time-out to talk about settling down a little and taking one possession at a time, the girls responded and battled back to keep the game close. It went back and forth the whole game but Verona hit some key shots and got some big defensive stops down the stretch to take the lead and escape with a 3-point victory (37-34). Whew! That was awesome!

The championship game was against Madison East. Although we didn’t play up to our abilities, we won the Championship 29-20. I think there was a little letdown after the epic battle with Monroe but they girls did what they needed to do to get the job done.

Congratulation girls! You continue to work hard and it shows. This should be another exciting year of basketball. We certainly couldn’t ask for a better start.


Verona 8th Grade Girls Hustle
Verona 8th Grade Girls Hustle
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