Kickapoo ends Tigers' season in district semifinals

Brenley Hagewood takes a jump shot during the second quarter of Republic’s loss to Kickapoo. He finished with a team-high 23 points.  (by David Brazeal)

The Republic boys basketball season came to a disappointing close in the district tournament at Nixa, Friday, as the third-seeded Tigers lost to second-seeded Kickapoo 59-49.

Twice during the game, Republic went through an extended scoreless stretch when it had opportunities to cut into a Kickapoo lead. Those empty possessions helped the Chiefs advance to the district championship game, where they defeated Nixa Monday night.

Republic built a 5-0 lead in the semifinals, but Kickapoo responded with a 12-0 run to go in front for good. The Chiefs led by nine points at the end of the first quarter, 22-13.

“I thought we had a good start, then when they went on their run, we had two or three trips where we got great looks and didn’t make them,” said coach Tim Brown. “Then they came down and made some shots. We had some assignment errors defensively and did some uncharacteristic things to allow them to be in a position to score 22 first-quarter points, which is not ideal for us.”

Republic cut the lead to six points, but missed five straight opportunities to cut the lead any further, and never managed to get closer than six points the rest of the way. Kickapoo led 32-21 at halftime.

The Tigers got within seven points midway through the fourth quarter, thanks largely to sophomore Brenley Hagewood, who finished with 23 points. After Republic made the score 50-43, though, Kickapoo scored five straight to put the game away.


Earlier in the week, Republic had knocked off Neosho 56-40 to advance to the semifinals. The Tigers outscored the Wildcats 32-16 in the second half. Ahlante Askew led the Tigers in scoring with 19 points in that one.

Republic ends one of its best seasons ever with a 24-4 record. The year included an 18-game winning streak, matching the second-longest in program history and the most consecutive wins for Republic since 1992-93.

The night also marked the final game for four seniors: Askew, Gunner Ellison, Khamari Edwards and Isaiah Nabors.

“I told our seniors that to have the year they had, not many teams in the history of our program have been able to do that. They’ve put our program in the top 10 in the state, and we’re in a position where we’re competing against the best in the state now. We’re Class 6, and that’s where we’re going to be,” Brown said.

“I couldn’t say enough about our guys — 24-4 with our schedule, Blue & Gold champs, an 18-game win streak. And the way they approached it every day, they loved and cared about each other. Those are the things that they’re going to take with them the rest of their lives, and if they can apply them in their life, they’re going to be happy and successful, whatever they do.”


Lawrence County Record

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