The Republic Lady Tigers played one of their best all-around games of the year, beating Neelyville 64-52 in West Plains Saturday. Three Lady Tigers scored in double figures, led by Jade Sawyer’s 14 points.
It was the second straight year that Republic has traveled to Missouri State University-West Plains for a game against an opponent from southeast Missouri. Last year, the Lady Tigers fell behind by 15 points in the 1st half, then stormed back to beat Dexter with the help of a school-record 36 points from Alice Heinzler.
This year, Republic jumped ahead early, but let Neelyville climb back into the game and take the lead 13-12 after one quarter. In the 2nd quarter, the Lady Tigers used full-court pressure to convert turnovers into easy points. They outscored Neelyville 16-8 in the quarter, and led 28-21 at halftime.
I thought in the first half, we did a heck of a job crashing the boards, getting some second- and third-chance opportunities. Getting to the line some, did very well defensively,” says head coach Kris Flood. “(Neelyville) shot the ball extremely well in the 1st half. That 1st quarter, it seemed like they were about 70%. It wasn’t like they were not contested shots. They were just knocking them down, and that kind of kept them in.”
The momentum stayed with Republic coming out of the halftime break. More defensive pressure, more turnovers, and more easy points allowed the Lady Tigers to stretch the lead to 49-35 after three. The lead eventually got over 20 points before Flood cleared his bench in the 4th quarter.
“Second half, we came out and hit a couple of key threes there. (Michayla) Shanks hit a couple, Jade and Micah (Mansker), seemed like they all hit a couple, so we at least got some breathing room,” Flood says.
In addition to Sawyer’s 14 points, Shanks scored 13 and Brooke Stanfield added 12. Mansker hit two three-pointers on the way to a nine-point day. Jordan Kabetske scored eight, Tori Taylor added four, and Logan Flood and Brylee Argo scored two apiece.
“The effort is a little more consistent,” Flood says. “We still get a little turnover happy. We’re still battling that, but we’re starting to get there. If we can get the consistency, night in and night out, we can play with about anybody.”
Republic improves to 9-2.