Ahlante Askew works the ball up the sideline during the 4th quarter. (Photo by Steve Rackley / Flat Top Photos)

Tigers Pull Away at Neosho to Win COC Opener

Republic outscored Neosho 12-2 down the stretch to win its first game of the Central Ozark Conference season 63-50 Tuesday. Ahlante Askew led the Tigers with 22 points and also sparked the offense with some of his best passing of the season, dishing out assists to several of his teammates as they cut to the basket with impeccable timing all night.

“When ‘Te is in attack mode and we talk about playing downhill – getting into the lane and past the free throw line – when he does that, I feel like our basketball team’s really good,” said coach Tim Brown. “There’s not many people that can stay in front of him consistently through the course of a game. He makes really good decisions, and he’s learning to … look to get his (points) a little more, and realizing that whenever he has than mindset, it’s going to open up so much more for others.”

Republic outscored Neosho 21-10 in the first quarter, but went cold in the second period. The Wildcats held Republic to just six points over an eight-minute stretch and got back to within two at halftime, 25-27.

Askew’s best assist came at the most important point of the night. After Neosho had cut Republic’s lead to 51-48 with 2:30 remaining, Askew tightroped the left sideline to get past three Neosho defenders, turned from the corner up the baseline, then as he was being pushed out of bounds, he leaped into the air and threw a perfect bounce pass to Brenley Hagewood in the middle of the lane. Hagewood’s layup started the 12-2 run that helped the Tigers salt away the victory.

Hagewood joined Askew in double figures with 16 points.

Republic improves to 8-6 overall. They’re 1-0 in the COC. Neosho is 10-5 (0-1).

The Tigers play at Carl Junction Friday night.

Republic Scoring
Ahlante Askew 22, Brenley Hagewood 16, Will Fronabarger 8, Devon McMillin 8, Avery Moody 4, Gavyn Beckner 2, Khamari Edwards 2, James Rexroat 1

FARR BETTER PLAYER OF THE GAME

Ahlante Askew’s game-high 22 points were not even the most impressive part of his performance Tuesday at Neosho. Time after time, Askew dished out bounce passes, one-handed passes, and no-look passes, usually resulting in baskets for the Tigers. For his work in orchestrating the Tigers’ offense, he’s our Farr Better Player of the Game.

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