The Lady Tigers scored just three points in the second quarter, and the offensive drought cost them in a 45-34 loss to Melbourne, Ark., in the third-place game of the Pink & White Lady Classic.
The two teams were even through the first quarter, tied at 11. Jade Kirby got off to a quick start, scoring the Lady Tigers’ first five points. Republic took its only lead at 11-7 before Melbourne scored four straight points to end the period. Republic caused seven Melbourne turnovers in the first eight minutes of play.
But in the second quarter, Melbourne’s defense tightened, especially in the post, where Melbourne held a size advantage. Republic’s only points came on a trey by Kaitlyn Ragsdale. At halftime, Melbourne led 23-14 and held a 17-10 rebounding advantage.
“The [Melbourne] kids in the middle, they can move well, not just offensively but defensively. We were afraid that the length might give us a little bit of issue in that zone they run,” said coach Kris Flood. “The second quarter was a really big turning point. We really struggled scoring there and just dug ourselves into a spot.”
Melbourne pushed its lead to as many as 17 points in the third quarter. It was 39-23 Melbourne after three.
The Lady Tigers fought back in the fourth quarter, but never got the lead down to single digits. Their 11-point deficit at the final buzzer was as close as they got.
After the game, in addition to their fourth-place finish, Republic was awarded the White Division Dr. James Jester Sportsmanship Trophy.
The Lady Tigers finish the tournament with a 5-4 record.
Republic scoring: Jade Kirby 10, Kaemyn Bekemeier 7, Kaitlyn Ragsdale 5, Clara Fronabarger 4, Savana Powell-Goodman 3, Jazzy Kirby 3, Delaney Smith 2
Turnovers: Republic 13, Melbourne 19
Rebounds: Republic 16, Melbourne 20