Republic senior scorer Kaemyn Bekemeier led the team with 23 points, but it was junior Misora Nambara who lit the spark to heat up the Lady Tigers in a 69-57 Senior Night win over Willard Tuesday. Nambara scored 13 points in the first quarter to fuel Republic’s early offensive effort finishing with 19 points. She made three three-pointers in the first qaarter, and Republic had eight treys in the first half.
Before the game, Republic recognized Bekemeier for her four years with the program. She’s the only senior on the Republic roster as the season winds down, and she holds several major offensive records for one of the most successful programs in southwest Missouri. She’ll be at Missouri State University next year, wearing a Lady Bears uniform.
“Kaemyn has been a true fixture to our program the past four years, and she’s one of the main parts of our succes during that time,” said coach Kris Flood. “She’s always well prepared and has stepped up so many times. There’s no doubt in my mind that she can succeed at the next level.”
Bekemeier surpassed another milestone last night, unofficially surpassing the 800-rebound mark for her career. She finished with 14 boards to go along with her 23 points.
Republic didn’t play its sharpest defensive game of the season, allowing Willard to get to the basket for a lot of easy layups. But the offense, led by Bekemeier, Nambara, and Molly Blades, who finished with 12, was good enough to overcome that. Republic trailed 9-7 in the first quarter, but outscored Willard 31-19 over the remainder of the first half to take a 38-28 lead at halftime.
After Willard cut the lead to four points late in the third quarter, 50-46, Bekemeier immediately slashed through the defense and scored a bucket at the other end to make the lead six again. That was the beginning of 14-3 run to put Republic back in control.
In addition to recognizing Bekemeier before the game, Republic honored Flood for reaching the 500-win milestone. Many of Flood’s former players attended to celebrate the occasion. According to the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association website, Flood is one of only 20 coaches in Missouri history to reach the 500-win milestone with one program.
Republic’s win pushes its record to 22-3 overall and 7-1 in the Central Ozark Conference. The Lady Tigers are back in action Thursday at home against Branson. It will be a girls/boys super night with six games. The varsity girls will start around 6:00, after the JV girls’ game ends.
Score by Quarters
Willard 15 13 18 11 – 57
Republic 21 17 16 15 – 69
Kaemyn Bekemeier 23, Misora Nambara 19, Molly Blades 12, Alaina Norman 9, Lauren Chastain 4, Molly Mason 2