Sometimes when a team is in the middle of a special season, it wins games it probably shouldn’t have won. The Lady Tigers may have won one of those games Thursday at Webb City. Republic didn’t rebound very well in the first half and didn’t shoot very well in the second half––but still managed to escape with a 58-52 win. The victory keeps Republic unbeaten in the Central Ozark Conference and sets up a conference championship showdown at Ozark Monday night.
On Thursday, Republic opened strong, with Halli Bartelsmeyer and Jade Kirby hitting three-pointers and Republic picking up a couple of defensive stops. But turnovers shut down the Lady Tigers’ offense, and Webb City used a flurry of offensive rebounds and second-chance points to hang close. Republic outscored Webb City 12-11 in each of the first two quarters to lead 24-22 at halftime.
In the second half, Republic did a better job of hanging onto the ball, and ran its offense more effectively to get open shots. But the Lady Tigers missed more than a half-dozen close-range shots in the second half and were unable to pull away.
Republic led 37-33 when the fourth quarter began, and a mini-run in the opening minutes helped set up the victory. After Webb City scored the first two points of the period, Republic scored five straight. Delaney Smith made a three-pointer from the left corner to make it 40-35, then Clara Fronabarger crashed the boards to put back a Bartelsmeyer miss and give Republic a seven-point lead, 42-35. Webb City got the lead down to two points, but a three-point play by Fronabarger pushed the lead back to five, and Republic hung on for the win.
“I told the kids, it was not a clean game at all, and we did a lot of things to hurt ourselves…with second-chance points [and] a lot of unforced turnovers,” said coach Kris Flood. “We were fortunate to be up two going into half. Then in the second half, we cleaned up that part of it, but then we couldn’t put the ball in the basket.”
Flood had worried earlier in the week that Webb City has traditionally been a difficult place for the Lady Tigers to play well.
“This has not always been a fun place to come and play. We seem to have laid some stinkers down here, but you know, it’s a win. It’s put us in a spot where I don’t think at the beginning, a lot of people would have expected us to be…to play for a COC championship.”
Fronabarger led Republic with 17 points. Bartelsmeyer also scored in double figures with 11.
Republic is now 18-7 (8-0 in the COC). The Lady Tigers play Ozark Monday for a COC championship. (Republic Tiger Sports will broadcast the game live online.)
Clara Fronabarger 17, Halli Bartelsmeyer 11, Delaney Smith 6, Jade Kirby 6, Shealyn Barrett 4, Jazzy Kirby 2, Anna Bell 2
Farr Better Player of the Game
Clara Fronabarger led Republic with 17 points, but three of them were especially important. After Webb City had cut Republic’s lead to two points late in the fourth quarter, Fronabarger stormed the glass to grab an offensive board, put the ball through the hoop, picked up a foul, and completed a three-point play. It was one of the biggest plays of the night, and it’s one reason Fronabarger is our Farr Better Player of the Game.
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