Republic ends Strafford’s historic streak in Pink & White highlight

The Republic Lady Tigers were on the losing end of an historic game
last season when Strafford won its 103rd consecutive game to break a state record. Republic made some history of its own in the quarterfinals of this year’s Pink & White Lady Classic when it beat Strafford to end that state-record winning streak, which had reached 123 games. The Lady Tigers knocked off the Indians 43- 42 in a physical, hard-fought game that came down to the final seconds.
Jazzy Kirby scored 18 points, including three free throws in the final minute, to lead Republic in scoring. And it was Kirby’s three three-pointers in the first quarter that helped turn the momentum toward Republic after Strafford jumped ahead 9-0.
“That was a key. They jumped out on us 9-0. It could have been one of those games where they get all the momentum going,” said coach Kris Flood. “Jazz stepped up and hit a couple threes and got us right back in it. We were able to just keep chipping away and finally got a lead there.”
Strafford scored eight straight to take control again, but Republic out- scored Strafford 12-4 to close out the half and held a 24-23 edge at the midway point.
A quick start for the Lady Tigers in the third quarter helped them build a seven- point lead, their biggest of the night, at 33-26. But Strafford punched back, making a three-pointer to end the third quarter, then scoring the first five points of the fourth quarter to take a 34-33 lead.
With all the momentum going in Strafford’s direction, it was Bekemeier’s turn to step up again. She took the ball to the other end of the floor and muscled it up and in, picked up a foul, and completed her second three- point play to give Republic the lead back. The teams exchanged leads again until another Bekemeier bucket made it 40-39. The Lady Ti- gers would never trail again.
Jazzy Kirby drew a foul and hit two free throws to make the score 42-39. Another free throw on an ensuing possession made the score 43-39. Kirby, who made the game-winning free throws in last year’s district title game against Willard, said she relishes the chance to step to the line in pressure situations.
“I like having the oppor-
tunity. We shoot free throws all the time and I think it just comes down to confidence once you get in a game like that. You’ve just got to focus and zone everyone else out.”
Strafford hit a three- pointer with two seconds remaining to make it a one- point game, but the Indians were out of time outs, and the Lady Tigers were able to seal the victory.
“It was a total team effort – not only the kids that were on the floor. I felt like the kids who were on the bench were in it,” said Flood. “That was a really good atmosphere. That was one of those you have fun playing.”
Republic Individual Scoring: Jazzy Kirby 18, Kaemyn Bekemeier 10, Savana Powell-Goodman 8, Jade Kirby 6, Delaney Smith 1
The Lady Tigers came up short in a semifinal game against second-seeded Ozark, 48-44. Republic nearly overcame a double- digit deficit before a late Ozark bucket sealed the decision.
“This game and last night’s game, several of them...played several minutes. I give them a ton of credit because they tried to persevere and fight through. It just came up a little short,”
said coach Kris Flood. Ozark grabbed a 16-13 lead after one quarter and 25-24 at halftime. By the end of the third quarter, they had built the lead to seven, but Republic mounted a late charge, making seven of eight free throws in the fourth quarter and outscoring Ozark 11-6 to cut the lead to 46-44. But Republic’s defense couldn’t get the one final stop it needed, losing
by four. The Lady Tigers will
play for third place Monday against Melbourne, Ark. Flood says his team can use the day off before playing again.
“The kids need a break. We really used a lot of energy in the Strafford game, then we dug a hole [tonight] in that third quarter, and we had to exert a lot of energy to fight back. This is a tough stretch and ... I’m glad there’s a day in-between to be honest, because we need it.”
Republic dropped to 5-3 with the loss.
The Lady Tigers had opened the tournament with a win over Spokane, 51-33. Republic pulled down 30 rebounds and contributed to 31 Spokane turnovers in that one.


Lawrence County Record

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


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