Verbena girls claw back, fall short against Altamont

Published 2:53 pm Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The Verbena girls basketball team lost 55-45 at home to Altamont School on Dec. 19, but not without a fight.

It was a game of ebb and flow, as Verbena followed up a rough second quarter with a fabulous third quarter.

The Red Devils led 10-6 early in the second quarter, but Altamont’s trapping defense led to turnovers and a 24-2 scoring run to end the first half.

However, the game’s momentum completely flipped coming out of the halftime break, as Verbena was suddenly the team with its foot on the gas.

In a role reversal, it was Altamont that was now the team struggling to maintain possession and looked out of sync offensively.

“We were getting back on defense and stopping the fast break points,” Verbena head coach David Sneed said. “We talked about that specifically at halftime and we were able to stop that.”

JaNiya White was a major part of the points surge toward the end of the third quarter, as she drained a three-pointer from the right wing and followed it up with a pair of free throws to cut the deficit back to single digits, 35-30.

“We’ve got JaNiya and Jasmyn [White], that’s a lot of offense right there,” Sneed said. “They’re both pure scorers and really want to drive the ball. They really feed off one another.”

After outscoring Altamont 18-5 in the third quarter, all of the momentum seemed to be in Verbena’s favor and accompanied by Altamont already being in the double-bonus.

However, the Red Devils could not maintain that pace over the final eight minutes and were unable to fully cash in, leaving several points on the table at the free throw line.

Four points was the closest that Verbena got to the lead before Altamont opened it up one last time late in the game.

JaNiya White scored 23 points, while Jasmyn White finished with 12 points for Verbena.

It is Sneed’s first year as head coach at the varsity level, but he is very familiar with the girls having coached junior varsity.

“They really know what I want out of them, and we’re almost there,” Sneed said. In any minute we’re going to break through.