One night after their intense, emotional win over Strafford, the Republic Lady Tigers didn’t have quite enough gas in the tank to finish a late comeback in the Pink & White semifinals. Ozark held on for a 48-44 win after Republic whittled a double-digit deficit down to two points in the final seconds.
“This game and last night’s game, several of them…played several minutes. I give them a ton of credit because they tried to persevere and fight through. It just came up a little short,” said coach Kris Flood.
Ozark grabbed a 16-13 lead after one quarter and 25-24 at halftime. By the end of the third quarter, they had built the lead to seven, but Republic mounted a late charge, making seven of eight free throws in the fourth quarter and outscoring Ozark 11-6 to cut the lead to 46-44. But Republic’s defense couldn’t get the one final stop it needed, losing by four.
The Lady Tigers will play for third place Monday against Melbourne, Ark. Flood says his team can use the day off before playing again.
“The kids need a break. We really used a lot of energy in the Strafford game, then we dug a hole [tonight] in that third quarter, and we had to exert a lot of energy to fight back. This is a tough stretch and … I’m glad there’s a day in-between to be hontest, because we need it.”
Republic falls to 5-3.
Republic scoring: Jade Kirby 10, Jazzy Kirby 9, Savana Powell-Goodman 8, Kaemyn Bekemier 6, Delaney Smith 6, Clara Fronabarger 5
Republic 13 11 9 11 44
Ozark 16 9 15 8 48