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Ahlante Askew glides to the basket during the first half of Republic’s win over Helias. (by Steve Rackley)

Big First Half Boosts Tigers Past Helias

Republic scored the last 12 points of the second half, and those 12 points ended up making the difference in a hard-fought win over Jefferson City Helias Friday, 61-49.

Republic’s guard tandem of Ahlante Askew and Brenley Hagewood fueled a big first half for the Tigers. The two combined for 18 of Republic’s first 20 points to help the Tigers build a 20-8 lead early in the second quarter. Askew had two three-pointers and Hagewood had one in the first quarter.

But Helias clawed its way back into the game by putting together a 7-2 run, getting the lead down to seven points at 22-15. That’s when Republic closed out the half with a 12-0 run. Jordan Douglas knocked down two three-pointers and Khamari Edwards threw down a monstrous dunk during the run. Gunner Ellison set up two of those baskets with fantastic passes — one a cross-court needle-threader through a tiny gap in the defense to feed Douglas, and the the other a fast-break pass to Edwards for the dunk.

Neither team found much of a rhythm in the second half beyond fouling, being fouled, and going to the free throw line. Each team ended up in the double bonus, and although Helias did cut the lead down to eight points briefly in the fourth quarter, the Tigers made enough free throws to hold on.

Hagewood finished with 19 to lead the team, and Askew had 17.

Republic now owns a 6-4 lead in the all-time series with Helias. Since the teams first played in the 2014 state semifinals, they have alternated wins. Friday’s win by Republic marks the first time either team had beaten the other twice in a row. The Tigers knocked off Helias in the Bolivar tournament last season, too.

Republic’s win is also its 16th in a row. The Tigers are two away from matching the 18-game winning streak of the 1992-93 Tigers. That’s the second-longest win streak in program history. (The 1963 state champions won 28 in a row on their way to a 34-1 record.)

The win puts Republic into the championship game of the Bolivar Liberator Tournament Saturday at 2:30 pm. The Tigers will play Thayer, who beat Bolivar 56-53 in the other semifinal.

Score by Quarters
Helias 8 7 15 19 – 49
Republic 17 17 10 17 – 61

Individual Scoring
Brenley Hagewood 19, Ahlante Askew 17, Jordan Douglas 9, Khamari Edwards 7, James Rexroat 4, Gunner Ellison 3, Aslan Ebisch 2

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