Republic is playing some of its best defense of the year heading into the district tournament next week. The Lady Tigers allowed just 11 points in the second half against Hollister, pulling away for a 65-37 win at home. It was the fourth straight defensive standout performance for Republic, which has allowed an average of 32 points per game over its last four outings.
Hollister stayed close for most of the first half, thanks mostly to senior guard Kendrick “Bug” Bailey. Bailey scored 15 points before halftime, and when she drove through Republic’s defense and made a layup with 1:45 remaining in the first half, Hollister was within a point, 27-26.
But Republic scored six straight points to end the quarter, then scored six in a row to start the second half, pushing its lead into double digits for the first time. Hollister never got the lead under ten points the rest of the way. Republic made an adjustment on defense, working to double-team and deny Bailey the ball..
“We talked at halftime as a staff and made an adjustment, just trying to get the ball out of her hands as much as we could, and maybe make those other ones (beat us),” said coach Kris Flood. “And they only had 11 points in the second half, so that’s pretty a pretty good half of defense for us. The last couple of games, we’ve been a little bit better defensively. It seems like we’re starting to click with that part, and maybe that’s a good sign it’s coming together at the right time.”
Kaemyn Bekemeier scored 23 points to lead the Lady Tigers, with seniors Jazzy Kirby and Savana Powell-Goodman adding 13 points apiece.
Republic finishes the regular season with an 18-7 record. The Lady Tigers open district play Monday at 7:00 at home against Carthage.
The night began with a win for the JV team, 65-21. The JV Lady Tigers Lady Tigers finished the season at 23-0, joining the freshmen in compiling a perfect season. The win was also the 400th career win for JV coach Tori Mooneyham, who’s been part of the Republic program as a coach since Flood took over.
“She’s been a key component to the program,” Flood said of Mooneyham. “She does a lot of roles for us. She does an excellent job (of) getting our kids prepared for that varsity level, and I think that’s obviously why we’ve had some success, with the coaches we have. She’s Republic through and through.”
Kaemyn Bekemeier 23, Jazzy Kirby 13, Savana Powell-Goodman 13, Rilynn Finley 13, Regan Holmes 2, Kaitlyn Ragsdale 2, Ashlyn Leonard 2, Cameron Gardner 1