Republic’s defense took away the long-range shooting option for a Sullivan team that lives and dies by the three-point shot, and it translated to a Tiger 52-37 victory Friday night.
Sullivan made six three-pointers in the game, but two of them came in the final minutes after the outcome of the game was out of reach. Thursday night, Sullivan had buried twice that many—12 three-pointers in a loss to Springfield Catholic.
“I think if you asked their coach, I would say that’s the best anyone’s defended them all year, as far as taking away threes and the stuff they like to do,” Fisher says. “As long as we continue to guard, as bad as our offense can be at times, we’re always going to be in games, and that’s huge.”
The Tigers were playing without leading scorer Broc Smith, who sprained an ankle Thursday night in a loss to Helias. Tucker Thomas stepped up with a big second half Friday to help Republic pull away. Thomas led all scorers with 17 points, including 13 after halftime.
“[Tucker] really played the best game of his season,” says Fisher. “I talked to the team about [how] someone’s got to step up. He’s one of those guys that instantly came to mind, because he’s one of those guys who can get stuff around the basket for us like Broc could. I’m proud of how he played on both ends of the floor.”
Neither team did very much offensively to start the game. It was only 7-7 at the end of the first quarter, and a lot of that scoring happened in the last two minutes of the period. Republic nabbed a 21-19 lead at halftime.
“We started off sluggish, but the second half, we were much better on offense,” Fisher says.
Republic is 9-4. They will not play Saturday, because their would-be opponent, Cape Girardeau Notre Dame, returned home Friday night so teammates can attend the funeral of a fellow student Saturday. Cape Notre Dame may return to Republic later this season to make up the game.
The Tigers return to action January 9 at Carl Junction.
Tucker Thomas 17, Hunter Creek 12, Drew McMillin 10, Cole Buxton 7, Race Looney 4, Jaden Duvall 2
Photo by Steve Rackley