Lady Tigers take two of three contests at Nixa Invitational

Kaemyn Bekemeier scored 31 points and pulled down 13 boards during Republic’s win over Norfork, Ark. (Photo by Steve Rackley - Flat Top Photos)

Republic rebounded from an overtime loss in the opening round of the Nixa Invitational Tournament to win two straight. The Lady Tigers dropped the tournament opener Thursday, to Cape Girardeau Notre Dame, then beat Norfork, Ark., and Park Hill South.
Notre Dame 48
Republic 45
Republic went six minutes 44 seconds without a field goal down the stretch, suffering an overtime loss to Cape Girardeau Notre Dame (No. 4, Class 5). The Lady Tigers led 44-40 with 2:44 remaining, but the Bulldogs came back to force overtime, then scored the only three points of the extra period on three free throws.
Notre Dame’s Lexi Rubel piled up 29 points and more than 20 rebounds to lead the Bulldogs past a short-handed Republic squad. In addition to missing the injured Lauren Chastain for the past few weeks, the Lady Tigers played Thursday without Miha and Misora Nambara, who were unavailable.
Republic 64
Norfork, Ark. 47
A big third quarter helped Republic pull away from Norfork, Ark. (No. 1 Arkansas Class 1A) on the way to a 64-47 win in the second round of the Nixa Invitational. Kaemyn Bekemeier exploded for 31 points and 13 rebounds. Two other Lady Tigers also scored in double figures: Rilynn Finley with 15 and Alaina Norman with 10.
Both teams had lost in overtime the previous night. Norfork had taken West Plains (No. 2, Class 5), the eventual tournament champion, to overtime Thursday. But Republic’s quickness, aided by the return of the Nambara sisters, was too much for the Panthers. After turning the ball over 16 times Thursday, Republic committed just nine turnovers against Norfork.
Republic 66
Park Hill South 55
Republic held its own on the boards against a much bigger Park Hill South lineup in finishing the tournament with a 66-55 win. Kaemyn Bekemeier posted another big day, scoring 28 points. Misora Nambara was also in double figures with 11.
Republic scored the first nine points of the game and eventually led by 18 points in the first half. But the Panthers never went away, closing the gap and keeping the lead around 8-10 points most of the game. Republic made 12 free throws in the fourth quarter to seal the victory. Bekemeier was 15-for-15 from the free throw line for the game.
“We bounced back. It helped getting back to our regular rotation,” coach Kris Flood said of his team’s performance. “There are things we’re trying to work on and improve, and it’s correctable things. Our turnovers were a lot better the last two nights. We’re not having so many empty possessions.”
Flood also credited the Lady Tigers for a solid rebounding effort against a much bigger Park Hill South lineup.
“I loved our effort on the boards. Our guards were in there sticking their nose in. Hope and Miha were down in there and trying to fight the best they could,” he said. “That was an extremely physical game, and I thought our kids just never got caught up in the emotion of that. They fought through it.”

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