Republic Tigers top Branson, Carthage, remain unbeaten in COC play

The Republic Tigers overcame a slow start to open the week, beating Branson behind 31 points by Drew McMillin. The Pirates stayed close in the first half, trailing just 29-25 at halftime. Coach Tim Brown said he worried the Tigers might experience a slow start after their tournament championship in Bolivar.
“I thought we came out a little flat. That was something our staff was a little bit worried about after the week we had last week. [We played] four games in a week ... in some high-level contests. You always look at the teams that win on Saturday and how they play on Tuesday. And sometimes that flat mentality is what you get,” Brown said. “And it felt like we were a little bit flat, a little bit on our heels.”
After Branson cut the lead to one point at 33-32, early in the third quarter, the Tigers went on a scoring tear, reeling off nine straight points. Joe Rexroat completed a conventional three-point play, then McMillin ignited the student section with a step-back three-pointer from the top of the key. Rexroat followed that up with a bomb of his own, and the lead was suddenly 42-32. McMillin made two more threes before the quarter ended, and Republic led 48-39 going into the fourth quarter.
McMillin scored 11 more points in the fourth quarter and the rest of the Tigers helped close out the win by out-scoring Branson 22-15 over the final eight minutes.
Republic scoring: Drew McMillin 31, Joe Rexroat 14, Race Looney 13, Ahlante Askew 4, Will Berry 4, Nate Woolford 4
Republic needed a late surge to escape with its undefeated conference record intact at home against Carthage. Republic outscored Carthage 10-2 over a four-minute stretch late in the fourth quarter to win 53-52.
With Republic trailing 47-43, senior Joe Rexroat scored the first points of Republic’s final surge to make the score 47-45. He followed that up with a three-pointer to give Republic the lead. Carthage would score on its next trip down the floor, but not again until the game was out of reach. Race Looney hit three of four free throws in the final two minutes and Ahlante Askew hit two free throws to help Republic clinch the win.
Rexroat led Republic with 18 points. Drew McMillin added 14 and Looney had 12 to give Republic three players in double figures in scoring.
Republic is 16-5 overall and 4-0 in the league.
Republic scoring: Joe Rexroat 18, Drew McMillin 14, Race Looney 12, Ahlante Askew 4, Carson Neff 2, Nate Woolford 2, Trevor Porter 1

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