The Tigers overcame an eight-point deficit. Then they lost a four-point lead. Then they overcame a five-point deficit. Then they lost a four-point lead, before finally surging to a thrilling, 60-57 victory at Parkview Tuesday night. Broc Smith scored 31 points to lead all scorers in a matchup that featured two of the Ozarks’ best players. Parkview’s Tyem Freeman finished with 25 points.
For most of the first half, the Vikings seemed to be in control. They built an eight-point lead at 27-19 late in the second quarter, and took a 29-22 lead into halftime. But Smith turned in a huge third quarter, draining three three-pointers and scoring 11 points, as Republic outscored Parkview 21-11 to take a 43-40 lead going into the fourth.
The final eight minutes were a physical, back-and-forth battle that featured several momentum swings. Parkview jumped ahead by five points, 52-47, only to see Republic score five points in a row to tie it up. The Tigers then took a 56-53 lead, and when Smith blocked a Parkview shot with less than two minutes remaining, Republic had a chance to seal the win. But Parkview’s defense forced a 10-second call in the backcourt and the Vikings cut the lead to one on their next possession.
With 22 seconds remaining and Republic leading by a point, Parkview forced a turnover on a play that coach Trevyor Fisher thought should have been called a foul. After a time-out, the Vikings got the ball to Freeman, who took it into the lane. But Smith got a fingertip on the ball to block the shot, Republic rebounded, and then Smith went to the other end and knocked down two free throws.
“We had to have him,” coach Trevyor Fisher says of Smith. “Late in the second quarter and third quarter, just from a scoring standpoint, he can get on a roll, and when he’s hot, we need to try to find him the ball, and that’s what good players have to do to beat good teams.”
The Vikings had one more crack at a tie, down by three, but their final shot was off the mark.
“We were very tough physically, which we had to be,” says coach Trevyor Fisher, “but more importantly, we were very mentally tough. The first half wasn’t going our way with the turnovers and the calls against us. We could have folded, but we just stuck together and found a way to win.”
In addition to Smith’s 31 points, the Tigers got 11 from Race Looney, who stepped up to score nine in the fourth quarter alone. Tucker Thomas added eight point, and Trent Rackley scored four, including a long three-pointer in the third quarter at a key moment. Drew McMillin, Hunter Creek, and Jaden Duvall scored two points each.
Fisher says the supporting cast around Smith made its contributions to the win, as well.
“Trent made a big shot. Race really came up big late. He came in and I think scored nine straight points. Other guys may not have scored, but they did some good things defensively and rebounding-wise,” Fisher says.”
Republic improves to 3-2 overall. Parkview falls to 4-3. The Tigers play next at home on Friday against Springfield Central.