Republic Lady Tigers' state run ends in quarters

Alaina Norman goes up for a shot against Raytown's Amani Henry in the first half of Republic's state quarterfinal. (Photo by Steve Rackley)

Republic senior Kaemyn Bekemeier holds the district championship trophy over her head as she and her teammates celebrate with Republic fans after their win over Kickapoo (Photo by Steve Rackley)

Republic players and coaches show off their district championship trophy after a 57-50 win against Springfield Kickapoo. (Photo by Steve Rackley)

A dominating performance on the glass and a slew of second-chance points helped Raytown knock Republic from the state playoffs Saturday with a 50-43 decision at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar. The Lady Jays scored 11 consecutive points during one stretch in the second half to take control, then held off a Republic charge in the final minutes.

"They were just more physical than us. They beat us up on the offensive boards, and we just didn't do a very good job there, giving away too many second-chance points," said coach Kris Flood. "I thought we guarded well, and got them to miss some shots, but they just out-physicaled us."

Raytown out-rebounded Republic 32-21. When the Lady Tigers came out quickly to grab a six-point first-half lead, it was the rebounding advantage that helped the Lady Jays stick around. They scored many of their first-half points on second and third shots, eventually taking the lead late in the second quarter before Republic grabbed a 23-22 halftime lead.

With Republic leading 28-25 early in the third quarter, Raytown tore off an 11-0 run to built a 36-28 lead with about two minutes left in the period. Republic responded with an 11-6 run of its own, but never got closer than three points the rest of the way.

After scoring 13 points in the first half, Kaemyn Bekemeier was held to two second-half points by Raytown's defense. It was the best anyone had defended Bekemeier for a full half all season. And the rest of the Republic offense struggled against the bigger, stronger Raytown lineup, too. Republic’s guard trio of Misora Nambara, Lauren Chastain, and Molly Blades, which averaged about 24 points combined throughout the season, scored only 10 points as a group Saturday. Among the starters, only Alaina Norman scored above her season average, with nine points.

The game marked the final one in a Republic uniform for Kaemyn Bekemeier, the best player to ever wear it. She finishes her career as the program's all-time leading scorer and the all-time leading rebounder. She holds the record for most free throws made in a career, and holds the single-game records in all three of those categories. She also holds the single-season scoring and free throw records, in addition to other marks. But that's not all that has made her an important part of the program, Flood said.

"It's been a pleasure to coach her for four years. You don't have a ton of kids who come through your program like she has and put their mark on the program, and it's not just the records," he said. "She's always been a very coachable kid and a good teammate. It's rare to get that opportunity (as a coach) to be a part of it. I'll always appreciate that."

Republic finishes its season at 26-4. All four of Republic's losses were to state-ranked teams, and the Lady Tigers beat six state-ranked teams this year, including three of the top ten in Class 6.


Earlier in the week, Republic had captured a district championship with a 57-50 win over Kickapoo at Nixa High School. Republic scored 12 consecutive points in the second half to nab the district title.

Republic played one of its most balanced games of the season, with three players in double-figure scoring. Bekemeier had 19, Nambara had 17, and Bladed added 11, including two three-pointers that sparked a second-half comeback.

The Lady Tigers trailed 21-12 late in the first half, but scored five points in the final 20 seconds of the second quarter to close the gap to 21-18 at halftime.


Lawrence County Record

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


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