It took six minutes for Republic to score its first points, but from there on out, putting the ball in the bucket was not a problem for the Tigers. Republic fell behind 7-0, but outscored Neosho 30-10 in the second and third quarters to win going away, 60-35.
The Tigers had one of their most balanced offensive games of the season, with Oliver Welch (14 points) and Avery Moody (13 points) leading the way. Drew McMillin had 11 and Ahlante Askew scored nine, but even when the Tigers’ two top scorers weren’t making baskets, they were whipping passes around the court to find open teammates.
The Tigers had been off for a week since their last game, but coach Tim Brown gave Neosho credit for holding his team in check in the early minutes.
“They had a great game plan to start the game as far as what they were doing defensively and being very, very deliberate in a patterned offense. I told our guys (in the first quarter) … we haven’t had enough offensive possessions to really say how we’re playing offensively,” he said. “We started trapping and trying to speed the game up a little bit to see if that could light a fire under us. I thought our hearts were in the right spot. We knew it was just going to take time for us to bust it open.”
Republic trailed 9-6 at the end of the first quarter, but led 25-15 at halftime and 41-19 after the third quarter. The more frenetic defensive pace of the second and third quarters helped the Tigers offensively, and it also played into the hands of Oliver Welch, among others.
“In a game where we kind of went with some trapping and some kamikaze defense stuff, that’s a game where he’s going to show up,” Brown said of Welch. “That’s right up his alley. We definitely needed energy guys tonight. It was kind of a flat atmosphere – not a whole lot of people on a Tuesday night. I thought our bench did a really good job of being ready to play.”
Eight players scored for the Tigers, who are now 12-1 overall and 1-0 in the Central Ozark Conference. They host COC opponent Carl Junction Friday.
Oliver Welch 14, Avery Moody 13, Drew McMillin 11, Ahlante Askew 9, Devon McMillin 5, Will Fronabarger 3, Carson Neff 3, Tyson Young 2