Verona had a strong 16-11 season with a 5-1 mark in conference last year. Gone from that team are first-team all-conference selection Nicole Stephenson and honorable mention all-conference honoree Madison Shrum. Stephenson scored more than 1,000 points in her Verona career and averaged 13.9 points per game last season.
The cupboard isn’t bare for fourth-year head coach Brenton Hyde with three starters returning.
“We have won 16 games each of the last two seasons. I expect us to be around that same total, possibly a little higher,” Hyde said. “We have strengthened our schedule this year by adding Crane, Spokane and Hartville. We went 5-1 in the conference last season and I think we will compete once again with Purdy for the conference title.”
The Lady Wildcats return their top player in junior Twilah Carrasquillo. Carrasquillo is a two-time first-team all-conference selection. She averaged a team-high 18.7 points, 8.7 rebounds, 4.2 steals and 3.9 assists per game last year. Verona’s start currently sits at 798 points for her career.
Classmates Rita Castillo and Gwyneth Henson will give Verona a strong group of juniors to lean on. Castillo, Verona’s starting center, averaged six points and 5.3 rebounds per game last year. Henson is a returning starter who averaged two points per game last year. Her role will expand greatly this season.
Sophomores Hailee Wilkinson and Carolina Castillo return after coming off the bench last year.
Freshmen Paige Bauer and Sydney Gamroth will be immediate factors on varsity this year. Bauer averaged 15 points per game in the eighth grade and will step right into a starting role on varsity. Gamroth is a post that can shoot from the outside and will contribute off the bench.
“I think this will be a successful year for this group, we have one of the best players around, some solid returning players, and some good freshmen moving up,” Hyde said. “If we can get the young players adjusted to the varsity game soon, we will be a tough game for anybody on our schedule.”
Verona opens its season on Nov. 21 at Galena.