For the past several days, winter weather and slick roads have disrupted the Republic girls basketball season. During the first half of Thursday night’s Central Ozark Conference game against Carthage, Republic played like its season was still on ice.
Carthage overcame an early deficit to pull within a point at halftime, then took a four-point lead briefly in the third quarter before Republic finally heated up. Kaemyn Bekemeier scored 14 points in the third quarter to help her team pull away from Carthage for a 68-53 win at home.
It was a big night all around for Bekemeier, who was recognized before the game for surpassing 2,000 career points earlier in the season. She finished with 34, matching her season high. She also took possession of another major Republic record, surpassing Amanda Newton’s career rebounding total of 740 to take over the career mark.
The first few minutes of the first quarter unfolded as expected, with Republic firing building a seven-point lead in the first quarter at 20-13. But Carthage’s quickness defensively began to take a toll on Republic, as they deflected passes and disrupted shots for the remainder of the half. Carthage outscored 15-9 over the remainder of the first half to cut Republic’s lead to 29-28.
When Lauren Choate hit a 23-foot three-point shot early in the third quarter, it gave Carthage its biggest lead of the night at 33-29. But Bekemeier immediately answered with a three-pointer at the other end to get Republic rolling. The lead changed hands five more times, but Republic scored the last eight points of the third quarter to take control.
As the fourth quarter began, Republic led 49-43. And after a defensive stop, Republic got on the board first when Molly Blades splashed in a three-pointer from the right wing. After Carthage got a bucket on its next possession, Republic began an 8-0 run to build the lead to 15 points at 60-45, effectively putting the game away.
In addition to Bekemeier’s 34 points, Republic got 13 points from Lauren Chastain.
Carthage falls to 9-11 (1-2 in the COC). Republic improves to 17-3 (1-1).
The win was also the 498th of Kris Flood’s coaching career.
Republic will travel to Nixa to resume COC play.
Score by Quarters
Carthage 15 13 15 10 – 53
Republic 20 9 20 19 – 68
Kaemyn Bekemeier 34, Lauren Chastain 13, Alaina Norman 9, Misora Nambara 5, Molly Blades 5