From the opening moments of the game, Republic appeared as the superior team. The lone lead Reeds Spring possessed in the entire game was when they led 3-0 after a made Skylar Murphy three-pointer in the team’s second possession. Senior center Marcus Miller is a force in the paint for the Tigers. Miller had just four points in the game, but both of his baskets came in the first quarter when Republic was able to establish their offensive game. Republic had a 14-8 lead after the opening period.
“We had to attack right from the get go and come out with an aggressive mindset,” said Republic head coach Trevyor Fisher. “For the most part Bekemeier did a good job and Fletcher forced into the lane and was able to dump it off to our big guys for some easy baskets and it settled us down a little bit.”
Reeds Spring was never able to gain control the tempo of the game. Because of Republic’s shot selection and quality ball handling, there were no opportunities for the Wolves to pursue a fast break. This forced Reeds Spring to play a half-court offense, and the Tigers were able to utilize their size and athleticism to their advantage. This forced Reeds Spring into multiple turnovers and bad shots. The Tigers were able to continually build their lead up to 11, leading 26-15 at the half.
“We knew that we might be able to turn them over a few times and we were able to do that in the first-half,” Fisher said. “Just the way the tempo of the game went, we aren’t a team that will get up an down and score 80 points a night; that is just who we are.”
Junior guard Canyon Smith and junior forward Cody Geiger were the two top scoring leaders for the Republic Tigers. The duo combined to score 25 points in the contest. Smith knocked down four three-pointers and added a free throw to score a game high 13 points. His ability to stretch the defense out to the perimeter allowed openings in the paint for players like Geiger to score close to the basket. Geiger finished with 12 points in the game.
“I thought we did alright tonight, but it (our offense) could have been better,” said Geiger. “We were a little sloppy in the beginning but cleaned it up.”
The second-half was less about Republic’s offense and more about its defense. Reeds Spring was only able to total three points in each of the last two quarters. The Wolves six-point second-half effort provided little challenge to the Tigers, as they were able to coast to the final buzzer. Outscoring Reeds Spring 11-3 in the third quarter meant a 19-point lead heading into the fourth.
Republic finished the game with a strong performance in the final quarter. The Tigers outscored Reeds Spring 12-3 in the fourth, and were able to secure a 28-point victory and a spot in the district championship game.
“We need to have a good day of practice tomorrow and be ready to play hard Saturday,” said Geiger.
Austin Selby scored a team-high nine points for the Wolves, eight of which came in the first-half.
“We didn’t focus on just one guy guarding him (Selby),” said Fisher. “We knew it would be a team effort and we surrounded him every time he had the ball, no easy looks for him, made him work for every touch he got, and work for every basket that he got. We rotated a few different guys on him and did a good job containing him.”
Republic will face Rogersville Saturday at 2 pm at Logan-Rogersville.
Republic Scoring: Canyon Smith 13, Cody Geiger 12, Dylan Bekemeier 8, Jake Fletcher 6, Marcus Miller 4, Grant Hancock
Reeds Spring Scoring: Austin Selby 9, Easton Flaugh 5, Josh Kent 3, Skylar Murphy 3, Nick Vos 1