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Hines St. Pharmacy Tiger Ticker

Tigers Overcome Bobcat Rally to Win Liberator Tournament

Republic built two big leads, then fought off two furious rallies by Thayer to win the Bolivar Liberator Tournament Saturday, 65-57. Brenley Hagewood scored ten points in the fourth quarter and Ahlante Askew went 8-for-8 from the free throw line down the stretch to help seal the deal for the Tigers, who won the tournament for the first time since 2020.

“Offensively, we were able to do a lot of nice things against their matchup zone. That’s really hard to prepare for in not much time, and our guys did a really good job,” said coach Tim Brown. “Defensively, before we got into foul trouble, I thought we did an awesome job of executing, tweaking some things throughout. I think all eight guys made big plays for us at some point.”

When Brenley Hagewood knocked down a jumper from the free throw line with 3:30 remaining, Republic led by 14 points, 50-36. But Thayer wasn’t done yet. Foul trouble piled up for Republic, forcing them to dial back their defensive intensity at times, and Thayer took advantage. The Bobcats went on a 14-4 run to cut the lead to two points, 57-55, with just 43.8 seconds left.

“We got in foul trouble and that put us in a bind there, as aggressive as they are driving to the rim, keeping them off the foul line and having to give a little more ground at the basket each time,” said coach Tim Brown. “So we knew they were going to make a run, and our guys stepped up and made plays when they needed to. That’s a really good basketball team we just beat tonight.”

The biggest moments of the game happened on the next Republic possession. Thayer was called for intentionally fouling James Rexroat, and Thayer coach Matt Pitts received a technical foul for arguing about it. Although Rexroat missed both his free throw, Askew made the two technical foul shots make the lead 59-55. Republic got the ball after the free throws and Gunner Ellison got fouled, stepping to the free throw line to push the lead to six points, and Republic shut down Thayer the rest of the way to hold on.

Republic had dominated in the early minutes of the first quarter, beginning with a three-pointer by Hagewood. The Tigers sprinted out to a 13-2 lead to start the game before Thayer got its footing. The Bobcats responded with 13 consecutive points to take a 15-12 lead for the first time early in the second quarter.

The teams went back and forth for the remainder of the half. The lead changed hands eight times in the second quarter, and Jordan Douglas hit the first of three clutch three-pointers just ahead of the halftime buzzer to give Republic a 25-22 lead at the midway point.

Douglas made another trey at the beginning of the second half to help Republic pick up where it left off. The Tigers scored the first seven points of the third quarter to build a ten-point lead, and eventually led 39-29 as the fourth quarter began.

Khamari Edwards also scored six points in the third quarter to fuel that run, after scoring six during the Tigers’ run to start the game. He finished with a career-high 14 points.

“He works extremely hard in practice every day,” Brown said of Edwards. “He’s bought in and he just gets better every single day. It’s just really fun to watch. He got a huge ovation when he fouled out, and it was well-deserved.”

Thayer falls to 12-4. The win is Republic’s 17th in a row, and improves the Tigers’ record to 18-1 overall. Republic is one win away from matching the 18-game winning streak by the 1992-93 Tigers, exactly 30 years ago.

The Tigers step back into conference play with a home game against Branson Tuesday.

Score by Quarters
Thayer 10 12 7 13 – 57
Republic 13 12 14 16 – 65

Individual Scoring
Brenley Hagewood 21, Khamari Edwards 14, Ahlante Askew 12, Jordan Douglas 9, Gunner Ellison 3, Aslan Ebisch 3, Isaiah Nabors 2

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