The Republic Lady Tigers opened their new gym with a bad case of nerves Monday night — but they got it turned around in a big way, and cruised to victory over Willard, 55-42. Republic fell behind to Willard 9-0, before whipping of a long run from about the three-minute mark of the first quarter. They outscored Willard 24-5 to take a 24-14 lead into the break.
Jayme Sifferman was the first Lady Tiger to score a varsity point in the new gym. Her bucket and free throw put Republic on the board for the first time, and started the early run that made the difference in the game. After Sifferman made it 9-3, Elle Aston hit one free throw. She missed the second, but Kyla Feith grabbed the rebound, hit a layup, and was fouled. She hit her free-throw, and in just a few seconds, the score was 9-7.
Republic trailed 9-7 after one quarter. But a three-pointer by Kayce Duvall and a layup by Courtney Gardner gave Republic its first lead with about 5:00 left in the half. The Lady Tigers never trailed again. They outscored Willard 31-5 in a run that stretched all the way into the second half.
Duvall led Republic with 19 points. Courtney Gardner scored 8. Elle Aston and Kyla Feith had 7 apiece. Jayme Sifferman scored 5 points, Payton Rayl had 5, and Kyra Ramsey had 3.
Earlier in the night, the freshmen had beaten Nixa 53-16 to christen the new arena. Kayla Bartelsmeyer scored the first-ever bucket in the new facility.
The JV team beat Willard 58-34.