After Kickapoo scored 13 straight points to take a 32-31 lead heading into the fourth quarter, the Lady Tigers needed someone to take charge. That someone was Brooke Stanfield. (See full video highlights below.)
Stanfield scored nine points in the fourth quarter — 17 for the game — to lead the Lady Tigers to a 49-46 victory in the state sectionals at Drury University Wednesday.
“I hadn’t had the greatest game the first few quarters. I was like, if we’re going to go out, I’m going to have to give it my all. I can’t just sit here and play terrible,” says Stanfield, who had been hampered by early foul trouble and spent valuable minutes on the bench. “I just thought, ‘Somebody’s got to step up. I know I will, and you never know who else is going to.”
Before a disastrous stretch during the final six minutes of the third quarter, it had actually looked like the Lady Tigers might run away with the game. They led 20-14 at halftime, and three quick three-pointers — two by Michayla Shanks and one by Jade Sawyer — helped them stretch the lead to 12 points, 31-19.
But Kickapoo turned up the defensive pressure and got more aggressive offensively, reeling off 13 straight points to take a one-point lead into the final period.
“We were really on our heels after that third quarter. We had several key players that missed key minutes there. We were able to bounce back in the fourth,” says coach Kris Flood.
The Grace Place Player of the Game is Brooke Stanfield. Not only did she lead the Lady Tigers in scoring, she also had a key offensive rebound after a missed free throw in the final minutes to help Republic hang on.
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In the fourth quarter, Stanfield took over. On multiple possessions, Republic’s guards fed her the ball at the free throw line, she turned, drove around her defender, and scored off the glass. Twice, she was fouled and completed a three-point play.
In addition to Stanfield’s 17 points, Michayla Shanks and Jade Sawyer each scored eight. Jordan Kabetske and Logan Flood scored five apiece. Tori Taylor and Micah Mansker each scored two. Mansker’s points helped ice the game, as she stepped to the line with less than two seconds remaining and calmly hit two free throws.
The win was the second in three games against Kickapoo. The Lady Tigers beat the Lady Chiefs at Kickapoo early in the season, then lost to Kickapoo in the Pink & White Lady Classic over Christmas break.
With the victory, the Lady Tigers have advanced to the state quarterfinals for the fourth time in five seasons. They completed the task this year in their first season of competition in Class 5.
“They’re at the point now that they know how to deal with it. They expect to get there,” says Flood. “There might be a little more (pressure) this year. Having everybody back…there’s been a lot on their plate to get to this point. They…do a really good job of handling that.”
Republic will play three-time defending state champion Columbia Rock Bridge in the state quarterfinals Saturday at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar. Rock Bridge defeated Republic 64-44 in a game in December, thanks mostly to a big third quarter.
Tipoff Saturday is scheduled for 2:45. Republic Tiger Sports will broadcast the game live. The Absolute Roofing Pregame Show will begin around 2:35.