Kickapoo edges Republic in district title thriller

Alaina Norman takes a shot during the second half of Republic’s district championship loss. Norman scored eight points in the second half. (Photo by Steve Rackley)

Four lead changes in final 65 seconds add drama to season-ending loss

Republic’s quest for a second consecutive district championship fell short in Springfield, Monday when Kickapoo beat the Lady Tigers 54-52 at Glendale High School. The game came down to the final minute, with four lead changes over the last 65 seconds, before Kickapoo got a defensive stop to secure the win.
Kickapoo had beaten Republic by 18 points earlier in the season. Monday’s game started similarly, with Kickapoo jumping ahead 14-4. But Republic fought back, closing the gap to 15-13 by the end of the first quarter. Kickapoo built another 10-point lead in the second quarter, and the score was 30-20 at halftime.
The Lady Tigers, a second-half team all season, took that tendency to the next level Monday. Republic held Kickapoo scoreless for the first six and a half minutes of the third quarter, scoring 14 consecutive points to start the second half. That turned the 10-point deficit into a four-point lead, and Republic led by three when the third quarter ended, 36-33.
“Once we settled down and started executing, what a difference that made,” said coach Kris Flood. “The kids have shown a bunch of resolve all year. They’re gonna fight, they’re gonna battle, there’s gonna scrap.”
The fourth quarter was a seesaw battle with multiple lead changes. Kickapoo briefly took a four-point lead, but Republic climbed back on top. Alaina Norman scored back-to-back field goals to tie the score, and Misora Nambara’s runner on the left side of the lane gave the Lady Tigers a 50-48 lead. A Josie Salazar three-pointer switched the momentum back to Kickapoo, but Nambara scored again to make it 52-51 Republic. Salazar answered with a layup at the other end to give Kickapoo a 53-52 lead, and the Lady Chiefs never trailed again. Republic had a shot to retake the lead, but Nambara’s driving shot through three Kickapoo defenders was off the mark.
The win sends Kickapoo to the state quarterfinals with a 28-1 record. Republic’s loss snaps a 16-game win streak and finishes their season with a 23-5 record.
The game is also the last in a Republic uniform for seven seniors: Misora Nambara, Lauren Chastain, Molly Blades, Alex Price, Gracie Woods, Alaina Norman, and Molly Mason.
“It’s not very often you get seven seniors that stay with the program. It’s been kind of a special group, and just how much they’ve grown since the beginning of the year, and not just the beginning of the year, but their four-year run,” Flood said. “I know it’s hard now, but they’re going to move on to other things. They’ve got a lot in front of them, so I’m just proud to have an opportunity to coach them and be a part of their life.”



Lawrence County Record

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Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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