Mooneyham-led Lady Tigers top ranked Carl Junction

Miha Nambara drives past Carl Junction’s Kylie Scott in the first half. Nambara finished with a season-high 14 points.

Tori Mooneyham, handling coaching duties in the absence of Kris Flood, addresses her players during a time out at Carl Junction. (Photos by Steve Rackley - Flat Top Photos)

Republic girls squad improves to 8-4 overall on season at halfway point
The Republic Lady Tigers got another win against a ranked opponent Friday, but this one looked different than the others. Republic got key contributions up and down the lineup, and even from the bench. Longtime assistant Tori Mooneyham handled varsity coaching duty for the first time in a 23-year career while head coach Kris Flood was out with illness.
“It’s always fun coaching a game like that. If you ask any coach, they’d rather coach a game like that than a turbo-clock,” Mooneyham said. “But they definitely made it interesting.”
Republic used a hot shooting touch to jump out to an 11-0 lead. Kaemyn Bekemeier, Miha Nambara, and Misora Nambara all made three-point shots in the first quarter. But the Bulldogs, ranked No. 5 in Class 5, fought back to close the gap to 14-8 by the end of the first period.
Carl Junction eventually took the lead for the first time in the final minute of the first half, but Eternity Knotts sneaked a jump-shot over the front of the rim as time expired, putting the Lady Tigers back on top 25-24.
The teams stayed close throughout the third quarter, but Republic pulled away in the fourth. The Lady Tigers took care of the ball and became more efficient on offense, coupling that improvement with better defense in the final minutes. Three-point plays by Bekemeier and Hope Schatz, a three-point field goal by Rilynn Finley, and clutch free throws by the Nambaras helped put the game away.
“I think we picked up our intensity on defense. We got them a little frustrated and made them work a little harder to get a shot,” Mooneyham said.
Six different players scored for Republic, and Molly Blades, Eternity Knotts, Alaina Norman, and Alex Price all contributed minutes when several Republic starters got in foul trouble. The contribution of role players helped put Republic over the top, Friday.
“That’s important to any game. It doesn’t matter if you’re in there a second or five minutes or 10 minutes, you’ve got to be ready to go,” Mooneyham said. “I’m not gonna lie, I kind of started getting nervous when Kaemyn picked up three (fouls), and Hope, and Rilynn. You kind of start sweating it, but it worked out and the kids pulled it off and played hard.”
Republic improved to 8-4 overall, and 1-0 in the Central Ozark Conference. Carl Junction fell to 11-4 (1-1).


Lawrence County Record

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