Republic ramped up the pressure on Neosho’s guards, then used the resulting turnovers to fuel its offense in a 55-32 win at home Monday. Eight different players scored for the Lady Tigers as they opened the Central Ozark Conference season with a win.
Republic coach Kris Flood believed ball handling might be a vulnerability for Neosho coming into the game, and the Lady Tigers exploited it with increased defensive pressure on the perimeter. Delaney Smith had a strong game defensively, forcing several turnovers, which Republic frequently turned into fast-break points.
“When we went through our scouting, we talked about how we wanted to basically make them uncomfortable. We thought the chance was there to really put some pressure on them,” Flood said. “We thought that was a point of emphasis––that we could get out and get after them a little bit, and hopefully get some offense off steals…”
“Honestly, defense is my best thing,” Smith said. “I really just focus hard on my defense more than my offense because I’m really quick and I can move my feet better.”
Jade Kirby had another big night on the offensive end, leading Republic with 17 points, despite a slow start.
“It took me a while today. My shots were off,” Kirby said. “But I just kept shooting it, and I knew eventually they’d fall. I think the more I take my time and get to my shot, it will go in.”
After Neosho started the scoring with a three-pointer, Republic rattled off ten straight points to take command. The Lady Tigers led 12-7 after one quarter and 24-15 at halftime.
The third quarter was when Republic put the game away, outscoring Neosho 19-8 to stretch the lead to 19 points.
Halli Bartelsmeyer also scored in double figures, finishing with 14 points.
The win pushes Republic’s record to 7-5 overall. The Lady Tigers are 1-0 in the COC.
Jade Kirby 17, Halli Bartelsmeyer 14, Clara Fronabarger 6, Anna Bell 6, Jazzy Kirby 6, Savana Powell-Goodman 3, Delaney Smith 2, Carle Ward 1
Farr Better Player of the Game
Delaney Smith scored just two points, but her defensive pressure on the Neosho backcourt helped get the Lady Tigers rolling in the first half, and she was our Farr Better Player of the Game.
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