Twenty-five years ago, the Republic Lady Tigers were the best basketball team in the state. Now the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame has recognized that 1994 state championship team as one of the best ever.
The 1994 Lady Tigers have been inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame on the silver anniversary of their championship––won the same year that the hall opened its doors. Republic’s 31-1 record that year was the best among the state champions in all classes.
Every member of the team, along with head coach Dave McQuerter and assistant coach Mike Thorne, were on hand for the induction ceremony. McQuerter says he remembers that team’s will to win––but even more than that, he remembers the flip side of that coin.
“Their will to win was unbelievable, but not only the will to win. Everybody likes to win, but this team had a deal where they hated to lose,” McQuerter said. “There were many games during that season that we were behind going into the fourth quarter in some big games, and they just found it within themselves to come on .”
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The Lady Tigers featured two 1994 all-state honorees: Cindy Wise (1st Team) and Vicky Smith (2nd Team). Tori Mooneyham, Melissa McGill, and Ashley Fry rounded out the starting lineup. Mooneyham and Fry would end up earning all-state honors in future seasons.
The year before, Republic had lost to Raymore-Peculiar in the state championship game 44-42. But the Lady Tigers also graduated three starters, including all-state point guard Kerry Ellis, and in the tough Central Ozark Conference, they were picked to finish third.
“I guess they underestimated the young kids I had coming up in the junior class, which was just one of the greatest classes in the history of Republic,” McQuerter said. “Their willingness to do whatever it took to win was incredible.”
Krista Dake, who returned from Colorado for the Hall of Fame ceremony, said it’s special to have the team remembered so many years later.
“It kind of punctuates how special that team really was. In the moment, of course, you feel that amazingness of what it’s like to have such a great season and to win the state championship. But to be honored 25 years later really underscores the accomplishment and how special all those ladies were to work so hard and become such a great team,” Dake said.
Glenna Mooneyham Lander said she enjoyed reuniting with her teammates after nurturing friendships on and off the court throughout their childhoods.
“It’s been special. We played ball together all those years growing up, and we were all such good friends back in the day, and it’s just been a blast to see everybody and reconnect,” she said. “We were such a close group of friends––we were always together during the weekends, we were together before games, we always gathered and watched videos and ate before games, and we were just always so close.”
And for Lander, as for many of the team members, a state quarterfinal blowout win against longtime nemesis Marshfield was one of the moments she cherishes most.
“Marshfield was our rival and we knew that it would be a tough game. But we had a goal in mind and we came out ready to play ball,” she said.
The members of the 1994 Lady Tigers are Krista Dake, Brandy Dipper, Stacey Evans, Ashley Fry, Nikki Harrington, Amber Kile, Melissa McGill, Glenna Mooneyham, Tori Mooneyham, Julie Sanders, Vicki Smith, and Cindy Wise.