Republic shredded the Kansas City Northeast defense with interior passing and easy layups, cruising to a 72-45 win in the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame Basketball Classics shootout Saturday. Joe Rexroat scorched the nets for 18 points in the first half and finished with 21.
The Tigers had to provide their own energy in front of a relatively small crowd in the large gym at Baptist Bible College, where the game was played. Tucker Thomas, who had 16 points and scored Republic’s first four of the night, noticed the quiet atmosphere from the beginning.
“It’s not really a great environment because there weren’t a lot of people in the stands, so it was hard to get going,” said Thomas.
Coach Tim Brown said after the game he knew it would be a different environment for the Tigers, given the format of the shootout, with visiting teams from outside the area.
“Playing in these shootouts sometimes, it’s a different setup than what we’re accustomed to and you just never know what type of energy and effort you’re going to come out with,” Brown said. “And I thought we had a pretty decent start. I thought there was some letdown once we … were able to get a little lead, but overall our guys came out and took care of business and it’s a good start to the new year.”
Joe Rexroat, who led Republic with 21, including 19 in the first half, said everyone on the team played a role in the energy level.
“That was a big emphasis for us, was coming in and creating our own energy. I felt like our bench did a pretty good job of clapping and staying in the game,” he said.
Republic led 21-8 after one quarter and 40-20 at halftime. It was 57-30 after three, even with most of the starters already on the bench.
Nine different players scored for the Tigers, with Rexroat and Thomas finishing in double figures.
Republic is 7-4. The Tigers will visit The Pit at Springfield Central next Tuesday.
Republic Scoring: Joe Rexroat 21, Tucker Thomas 16, Trevor Porter 7, Nate Woolford 7, Ahlante Askew 6, Will Berry 5, Drew McMillin 4, Race Looney 4, Carson Neff 2
Turnovers: Republic 9, KC Northeast 13
Rebounds: Republic 24, KC Northeast 18