After a season of constant improvement, Republic picked a bad day to revert to early-season form. The Lady Tigers struggled offensively all afternoon in a 42-29 loss against North Kansas City in the state semifinals. Much of the blame goes to North Kansas City’s defense, which has shut down opponents all season and held Republic to 20% shooting from the field.
Delaney Smith gave Republic a 5-2 lead with a three-pointer early in the first quarter, but that was the high-water mark for the Lady Tigers. The Hornets’ defense clamped down, and Republic missed several open looks as North Kansas City opened a 13-8 lead at the end of the first quarter. Republic scored just four points in the second quarter to fall behind at halftime, 22-12.
“I think the major thing is they’re really long and super lanky… we’re used to that, but they’re also really quick,” senior Halli Bartelsmeyer said of the Hornets’ defense. “Usually when we have a taller group, they’re kind of slower, but these girls were pretty quick.”
Coach Kris Flood agreed that North Kansas City’s quickness combined with its superior size posed different challenges than previous playoff opponents Kickapoo and Rock Bridge.
“They could cover our penetration. If we went to our five-guard-type look or spread, they were able to contain,” Flood said.
The third quarter was the best overall period for the Lady Tigers, who outscored the Hornets 12-9. Republic used its press to force several turnovers (and forced 26 turnovers in the game). When Jade Kirby muscled up a shot in the lane with just over a minute remaining left in the quarter, the lead was down to three––and a turnover by the Hornets gave Republic a chance to tie the game.
But Republic never got any closer, and two buckets by North Kansas City in the final minute of the quarter stretched the lead back to seven. Republic never got that close again.
“We’d be right there and we were battling. Give them credit. They came back and attacked a little bit with their penetration and got some baskets on us,” said Flood. “It just seemed like we could not get over that hump–just grab hold of that momentum and keep it. We were getting some turnovers, but we just couldn’t capitalize on it today.”
Republic’s 29-point output was its lowest since the first game of the season, when an inexperienced varsity lineup lost at Lee’s Summit West in the season opener, 45-26. In addition to shooting just 20.5% (8-for-39) from the floor, the Lady Tigers were just 4-for-19 from three-point range. They turned the ball over 19 times, off-setting most of the damage they did with their own defense.
Republic plays for third place Saturday at 12:50 at JQH Arena. The Lady Tigers will face Parkway Central. The Colts (23-7) lost to Jefferson City in their semifinal 43-29.
Savana Powell-Goodman 10, Clara Fronabarger 9, Halli Bartelsmeyer 4, Delaney Smith 3, Jade Kirby 2, Jazzy Kirby 1
Farr Better Player of the Game
Savana Powell-Goodman continued her late-season surge for the Lady Tigers. Powell-Goodman came off the bench to provide a spark on defense and on the boards, and she also led Republic in scoring with 10 points. She’s our Farr Better Player of the Game.
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