Republic outscored Nixa 9-2 in the final 4:30 to pull away for a 50-43 conference win at home Monday night. It was the sixth win in a row for the Lady Tigers, who improved to 13-9 overall and 5-1 in the Central Ozark Conference.
Republic turned up the defensive intensity from the opening tip, holding Nixa to just six points in the first quarter. It was 8-6 after one, and Republic led 28-24 at halftime. In the third quarter, neither team could do much offensively, and the Lady Tigers took a 35-31 lead into the final period.
“We knew they’d started running a lot of … pick and roll, a lot of ball screens. We just talked about how we were going to defend that,” says coach Kris Flood. “Defensively, I thought the effort was pretty good. If we could’ve just taken care of the ball a little bit better. We had nine or ten turnovers in the first half and we had some stretches there where we kept them in check.”
With two games remaining in the conference — against Willard on the road Friday and at home against Ozark next Monday — Republic has put itself in position to win a COC title with two more victories. Beating Nixa for a second time this season also gives Republic the inside track on a number one seed at districts.
“At this point, we haven’t played Joplin but we have wins over everybody else [in the district],” says coach Kris Flood. “A number one seed is more than likely going to help us stay out of Neosho’s bracket. Especially with them hosting, that’s always a tough place to play, and that would probably be a tough semifinal match.”
The game was tied 41-41 when Halli Bartelsmeyer hit a layup with about 4:30 remaining. Not long after that, Brylee Manes hit consecutive layups to give Republic some separation, and the Lady Tigers allowed just one field goal down the stretch.
Megan Branstetter scored 13 to lead Republic.
The freshmen won their game in double overtime. The JV Lady Tigers also won — running their record to a spotless 20-0 with three games remaining on their schedule.
Megan Branstetter 13, Brylee Manes 11, Halli Bartelsmeyer 9, Avy Powell-Qualo 8, Morgan McGuire 4, Jade Kirby 3, Lacee Walcher 2
Farr Better Player of the Game
Playing on a bad ankle, Megan Branstetter continued to spark the Lady Tigers on both ends of the floor. Branstetter led Republic with 13 points and helped Republic hold Nixa’s offense in check, and she was our Farr Better Player of the Game.
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