The Lady Tigers celebrate their Pink & White championship. (by Steve Rackley)

Republic Earns Pink & White Title

The Lady Tigers’ romp through the state rankings continues, and this time, they earned a tournament championship, to boot. Republic whipped another state-ranked team Friday, pulling away from Grain Valley (Class 6 #2) with a big fourth quarter for a 59-48 win in the championship game of the Pink & White Lady Classic.

Listen to the full game replay.

The key stretch of the game came in the late in the third quarter and early in the fourth. Republic had led from the start after scoring the game’s first six points. But Grain Valley closed the gap, tied the game several times, and finally took its first lead with 2:20 left in the third quarter, 35-34. A three-pointer pushed their lead to 38-34, the biggest of the night.

But at that point, Republic took over. The Lady Tigers scored 11 straight points to take their biggest lead of the night to that point, 45-34. Molly Blades had a steal and a layup during that stretch. Senior Hope Schatz drained a three-pointer from the right wing on the final possession of the quarter to put Republic on top 41-38, and the Lady Tigers never trailed from that point on. Republic outscored Grain Valley 18-10 in the final period to close out the win.

Kaemyn Bekemeier may have played the best all-around game of her illustrious career. She not only scored 28 points, but she took the lead defensively against the top high school player in Missouri, Grace Slaughter, and held her to only 12 points. During the fourth quarter, Bekemeier made two leaning, off-balance jumpers, made two free throws, and hit a big three-pointer.

“She hit some big shots, especially in that foiurth quarter — those little mid-range jumpers… in key spots,” Flood said of Bekemeier.

Bekemeier and Slaughter are familiar with each other because they have played summer basketball together for three years and have become friends. Bekemeier got the best of the matchup Friday.

“You can scout them to death, but those types of kids are going to try to step it up. And I thought both those kids played well, not just tonight, but the whole week. But I think (Kaemyn) was mentally bought into it and you coud tell she played with a little bit of a different edge,” Flood said of Bekemeier.

Republic (#6 in Class 6) has now beaten the #2 team in Class 6 (Grain Valley), #4 (Raytown), and #7 (Kickapoo). They’ve beaten the #5 team in Class 5 (Jefferson City), and the top two teams in Class 3 (El Dorado Springs and Strafford).

Republic won its first Pink & White Tournament since 2012. Coach Kris Flood said the championship was a team effort.

“It’s not just the kids that were on the floor. Our bench was tremendous. They always stayed in the game,” Flood said, “especially those tough times at the end of games. We had different kids step up, and it was well-earned. They work hard.”

Republic improves to 11-1 overall.

Score by Quarters
Grain Valley 13 11 14 10 – 48
Republic 15 12 14 18 – 59

Individual Scoring
Kaemyn Bekemeier 28, Lauren Chastain 8, Molly Mason 6, Misora Nambara 4, Hope Schatz 4, Molly Blades 4, Alaina Norman 4


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