Molly Blades handles the ball on the perimeter in the first half. She finished with a game-high 18 points. (by David Brazeal)

District Demolition: Republic Rips Joplin to Open Postseason

Republic scored the first 11 points of the game and never looked back in a 74-24 lambasting of Joplin to open the Class 6 District 5 tournament Thursday in Nixa. Ten different players scored for Republic, including two — Annabelle Gerhardt-Hobbs and Sammi Watson — who booked their first career varsity points. Molly Blades, whose defense helped spark the fast start, also led the way in the scoring column with 18 points.

The Lady Tigers managed to run away from Joplin despite a cold shooting start. That’s because in both its full-court and half-court configurations, the Republic defense threw Joplin into disarray. The Lady Eagles seldom managed to get a shot off during the first ten minutes of the game, and Republic build a 26-2 lead with 6:30 remaining in the second quarter. Republic outscored Joplin 21-2 in the first period and 22-12 in the second.

It’s a testament to the balance of Republic’s offense that only two players — Blades and Kaemyn Bekemeier, who had 16 — scored in double figures. Most of the starters had taken a seat on the bench by the time the third quarter ended.

Four players saw their first varsity action after being called up for the postseason run. In addition to Watson and Gerhardt-Hobbs, Kaylee Cornelsen and Addie Brown got into the game but did not score.

Republic improves to 24-3 and advances to play Ozark in the district semifinals Saturday at Nixa at 6:00 pm. Ozark beat Glendale in their quarterfinal match Thursday. Republic Tiger Sports will carry the semifinal game live.

Score by Quarters
Joplin 2 12 8 2 – 24
Republic 21 22 26 5 – 74

Individual Scoring
Molly Blades 18, Kaemyn Bekemeier 16, Lanney Strong 8, Alaina Norman 8, Lauren Chastain 7, Misora Nambara 7, Annabelle Gerhardt-Hobbs 4, Addison Walker 3, Molly Mason 2, Sammi Watson 1


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