Kaemyn Bekemeier scored 16 points before halftime and finished with a game-high 24 to lead Republic over Neosho in the first Central Ozark Conference game of the season, 54-26. The Lady Tigers rode a fast start by Bekemeier and Savana Powell-Goodman, who combined for 15 points in the first quarter.
It took Neosho most of the first quarter to get its offense untracked. The Lady Wildcats trailed 19-5 at the end of the first quarter, but had their best stretch of the game in the second quarter. Olivia Dixson scored seven points over an eight-minute stretch to help Neosho outscore Republic 11-10 in the period. The lead was down to 13 points at halftime, at 29-16, but that’s as close as Neosho would get the rest of the way.
Coach Kris Flood gave Neosho credit after the game for continuing to fight after falling into a big hole early, but also said his team struggled to keep the momentum after the fast start.
“(Neosho) kept battling (and) working. We had some stretches where we struggled. We didn’t help ourselves. We’re fighting those little things … like unforced turnovers, and we missed several free throws tonight.”
The Lady Tigers held Neosho to just four points in the third quarter, pushing the lead to 42-20 by the end of three. Rilynn Finley had five of her nine points in the third quarter.
Bekemeier not only scored 24 points, she pulled down 12 rebounds and had five steals. Powell-Goodman added four steals for the Lady Tigers.
Flood was able to get playing time for several players off the bench in the fourth quarter as the Lady Tigers pushed the lead to 28 points by the final buzzer. The win improves Republic’s record to 8-4 overall and 1-0 in the Central Ozark Conference. Neosho is 9-5 (0-1).
“It’s good to get off to 1-0 in the conference and good to get a win at home,” Flood said. We’ve just got to keep fighting and work to get better. We’ve just got to be a little more prepared mentally and physically.”
The Lady Tigers have won six of their last seven games after starting the season 2-3. They’ll host Carl Junction in another conference game Thursday. The freshman game begins at 4:30. (Republic Tiger Sports will carry the varsity game live.)
Kaemyn Bekemeier 24, Rilynn Finley 9, Savana Powell-Goodman 9, Kaitlyn Ragsdale 4, Jazzy Kirby 4, Ashlyn Leonard 2, Regan Holmes 2