Republic Tiger basketballers rebound with two victories, head into final week

Republic’s six participants in College Signing Day ceremonies were (front) Alex Price, Lauren Chastain, Avery Zinter; (back) Xavier Ulshafer, Ethan Anderson and Evan Buchanan. (Photo by David Brazeal)

Republic ended a three-game losing skid with two wins in the Central Ozark Conference (COC), first at home against Ozark, then on the road at Neosho.
Republic 63, Ozark 36
Three Republic forwards — James Rexroat, C.J. Uhl, and Davin Parks — combined for eight points in the first quarter to jumpstart the Tigers in a home win against Ozark. After that, Brenley Hagewood took over. Hagewood scored 31 points, including 14 in the second quarter. He also had six assists in the game.
Despite spending a lot of time on the bench with foul trouble, Republic’s three forwards combined for 22 points in the game, led by Rexroat with 10.
Republic led 39–23 by halftime and held Ozark to only 13 points in the second half. Thirty-six points allowed was the fewest for Republic in a COC game since January 15, 2021, when Carl Junction scored 31 points against the Tigers.
The win also ended a four-game losing streak against Ozark dating back to 2020.
“It was definitely on our mind,” Hagewood said of the losing streak. “Since my freshman year, we just haven’t been able to get over Ozark, and it… losing by 20. We wanted to get this win for sure.”
Republic 82, Neosho 32
After allowing 36 points to Ozark on Tuesday, Republic’s defense was even better on Friday, giving up 32 points in a 50-point demolition of Neosho on the road. Republic allowed 16 points in the first quarter, then settled in to allow 16 more points the rest of the night.
The decisive stretch came early in the second quarter, when Republic expanded a 19–16 lead to 39–16 by scoring 20 consecutive points. The Tigers led 42–21 at halftime.
Hagewood led Republic in scoring again with 22 points, and C.J. Uhl had one of his best games of the season, scoring 13 points off the bench, including 10 points during the dominant second quarter.
Ten different players scored for Republic. Ryder Davis had a career-high nine points on three three-pointers, and Owen George scored his first varsity points on a three-pointer in the fourth quarter.
The win improved Republic’s record to 14–10 overall and 3–3 in the COC heading into the final week of the regular season.
Lady Tigers cruise to two more COC wins
Republic’s defense continued to dominate with two more strong performances in the Central Ozark Conference (COC), remaining unbeaten in league play with wins over Ozark and Neosho.
Republic 45, Ozark 31
Republic held Ozark to single digits in three of four quarters on the way to a 45–31 win at home. A slow offensive start for Republic against Ozark’s zone defense helped the visitors build an 11–10 lead after the first quarter. Ozark’s Macey Sult had three three-pointers in that opening period.
Lauren Chastain had a big second quarter to help Republic regain the lead. She scored six points and asserted herself inside with rebounds on four straight defensive possessions. Her long three-pointer with 2:20 remaining in the half gave Republic a five-point lead, 21–16, and that was the score at halftime.
Republic came out in a zone defense in the third quarter, and that change helped shut down Ozark the rest of the way. Ozark scored just three field goals in each of the last two quarters, and Republic slowly pulled away. Molly Blades finished with 12 points to lead Republic.
“This game is always tight. It’s always low-scoring,” Flood said of the rivalry with Ozark. “I told the kids afterwards, ‘Just take the W and move on.’ We’re trying to keep our eye on that COC (race) and trying to maintain focus on that.”
Republic 76, Neosho 29
At Neosho, the outcome of the game was never in doubt, with Republic building a 25–2 lead and running away with a 76–29 victory. The Lady Tigers finished with 12 three-pointers, including nine in the first half. Molly Blades had six of those threes, finishing with a career-high 25 points.
Three other players joined Blades in double-figure scoring: Misora Nambara had 17, Alex Price scored 12, and Lauren Chastain scored 10.
Republic has won 14 consecutive COC games dating back to last season. The Lady Tigers finish the season with games against Willard and Carl Junction. Two wins would clinch Republic’s first conference championship since 2021 and the ninth under coach Kris Flood.
Republic finished the week 19–4 overall and 7–0 in the COC.


Lawrence County Record

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


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