Perfect start for Republic basketballers in local holiday tournaments

Republic Basketball
The Republic Tigers and Lady Tigers started their post-Christmas basketball extravaganzas with victories in the early rounds of their respective holiday tournaments. The Lady Tigers––seeded seventh in the Pink Division of the Pink & White Lady Classic––opened with a victory over Glendale, then followed it up with a convincing win over No. 2 seed Ozark in the quarterfinals.
The Tigers took three quarters to get going, but overcame an upset bid by Skyline to win their opening-round game by 16 points.

Republic 55, Skyline 39
It took nearly three quarters, but Republic finally played like a favorite in an opening-round win over Skyline at the Blue & Gold Tournament Wednesday. Republic and Skyline were tied 34–34 at the end of three quarters, but Republic scored the first nine points of the fourth quarter on the way to a 55–39 victory. Republic outscored Skyline 21–5 in the final eight minutes.
Momentum began to swing late in the third quarter, with Republic trailing by four points and about two minutes left on the clock. Race Looney hit a shot in the lane and Republic forced a turnover on defense. Tucker Thomas followed that up with a jumper in the lane to tie the score.
“We’ve got to do a better job of starting games,” says coach Tim Brown. “I think if you look at our fourth quarters this year, we’ve played really good fourth quarters. [It’s] good that we decide to play at least one quarter out of the deal.”
In the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, Republic took control. Broc Smith hit a jump shot in the lane, Tucker Thomas drove to the bucket and made a reverse layup, and after Race Looney took a charge, Trent Rackley made two straight shots––a two pointer and a three-pointer––to give Republic a cushion.
Brown says his Tigers stepped up their defense in the final minutes, and that’s what made the difference in the game.
“Defensively we tighten things up in the fourth quarter and that’s where it all starts. And then we cut harder and our attention to detail’s a lot better on the offensive end… Our cuts are harder, our passes are better, [and] our shot selection’s better.”
For the first three quarters, a young Skyline team looked capable of pulling an upset. Its first possession of the game set the tone for what was coming. Republic played solid defense for about two minutes and nearly forced a turnover several times. But Skyline’s possession ended with an off-balance three-pointer going through the hoop, and the underdogs were off and running.
“Give skyline credit. They were everything we knew they were going to be. [They’re a] very skilled group that’s going to do a lot of special things over the next few years with the youth that they have,” Brown says.
The Tigers advance to play Mansfield in the second round. The Lions beat Reeds Spring in their opener, 80–50.
“We’re still searching for that game where we’ve played four full quarters,” Brown says. “This would be a good week to start.”
The win improved Republic’s record to 7–2.
Drew McMillin 17, Tucker Thomas 13, Race Looney 11, Broc Smith 9, Trent Rackley 5

Republic Lady Tigers 56, Glendale 39
Republic and Glendale drew the 9:30 a.m. game in the Pink Division opening round at the Pink & White Lady Classic, and for the first quarter, both teams seemed to have a little trouble waking up. But mid-way through the second quarter, Republic stepped up its defensive pressure, turned some turnovers into points, and gradually began to pull away from the Lady Falcons in a 56–39 win.
Republic began to show some life late in the first quarter, with four reserves––Jazzy Kirby, Delaney Smith, Shealyn Barrett, and Kaitlyn Ragsdale––on the floor. With Glendale leading 8–5, Kirby and Barrett each scored a bucket to give the Lady Tigers a 9–8 lead at the end of the first period. Their points were part of a 9–0 run that spanned several minutes in the first and second quarters.
“[We were] just trying to stay fresh as much as possible, and we had a little bit of foul trouble,” says coach Kris Flood. “I’ve got a tremendous amount of confidence in those kids that we have on the bench that they can come in and contribute. We had that today, and we needed it.”
Jazzy Kirby led Republic with 11 points. Shealyn Barrett scored six points off the bench, and Delaney Smith added a bucket.
In the second quarter, the Lady Tigers outscored Glendale 17–10 as they began to assert control. The Lady Falcons scored just five points in the third quarter, and Republic pulled away down the stretch to advance to the winner’s bracket second round.
“I assumed we’d be a little bit rusty, not playing since (December) 17, then factor in an early start. Hopefully, we’ll be more adjusted tomorrow when we come out. No matter what, we’ll need to take it up to a different level tomorrow.”
Jazzy Kirby 11, Avylina Powell-Qualo 10, Halli Bartelsmeyer 9, Clara Fronabarger 9, Jade Kirby 9, Shealyn Barrett 6, Delaney Smith 2

Republic Lady Tigers 53, Ozark 38
Seventh-seeded Republic played its most balanced, complete game of the season in upsetting No. 2 seed Ozark 53–38 in the second round of the Pink & White Lady Classic.
Four different players scored in double figures for the Lady Tigers, who built a double-digit lead in the first half, then held on through a grueling final four minutes to advance to the tournament semifinals. Avylina Powell-Qualo led Republic with 13 points before leaving the game with an injury in the final minutes.
Republic opened the game aggressively on offense, penetrating into the lane and getting open shots on several possessions.
“We knew there were going to be some matchup possibilities,” says coach Kris Flood. “We did a nice job of attacking. Avalina … had a couple of nice drives in the first half.
“Jade (Kirby) took advantage of the couple times where we got penetration, and we were able to pitch it out. They came off to help and we hit a couple of perimeter shots.”
Republic played solid defense on the other end of the court, forcing Ozark into difficult shots.
“We really focused on staying on that midline because … they run a lot of the weave and penetration. Their guards are real quick,” Flood says. “They’re able to get to the basket and they’re real good about recognizing and finding those outside shooters.”
Republic jumped ahead 14–4 in the opening minutes and led 18–7 at the end of the first quarter. At halftime, the lead was 10 points, 26–16. The lead stayed in double digits most of the rest of the game. It dipped to seven points briefly at 29–22 early in the third quarter, but two points by Bartelsmeyer and a Jazzy Kirby three-pointer stretched it back to 34–22, and Ozark never got closer than 10 points the rest of the way.
Republic’s celebration was subdued because of the knee injury to Powell-Qualo, who went down with 3:35 remaining in the game.
Powell-Qualo’s injury came just as she was beginning to assert herself more aggressively on both ends of the floor for Republic.
“She’s really played well the last couple of games for us. She had a nice game yesterday morning. She was playing well today,” says Flood. “We’ll just have to wait and see. Hopefully she’s not hurt … too bad, especially with her being a senior.”
The win improved Republic’s record to 5–3.
Avylina Powell-Qualo 13, Halli Bartelsmeyer 12, Clara Fronabarger 11, Jade Kirby 10, Jazzy Kirby 5, Shealyn Barrett 2


Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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