Battling for a spot in the semifinal round of the Pink and White Lady Classic, Crane and Republic took to the hardwood at the O’Reilly Family Event Center. In a hard-fought, physical match up, Republic kept their undefeated season alive with a 69-49 win.
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Republic (7-0) is lead by their five seniors: Alice Heinzler, Kayla Bartelsmeyer, Alex Botkin, Lindsey Carlson, and Sarah Kruel. In the Lady Tigers style of offense, any of their starting five has the opportunity to explode for a big game. Opposing teams have had issues to this point in the season in slowing down Republic’s offense, and Crane turned out to be another one of those teams.
Heinzler, a primary ball handler for Republic, has been a consistent scoring option for her team, stepping up when the games matter most. In the opening quarter of the game, Heinzler got her team off to a quick start, scoring 11 of her team’s 21 first period points.
Not to be outdone, Kruel was a force inside for Republic. Her quick post moves proved difficult for the smaller Crane defenders to stop, thus creating favorable match ups for the Lady Tigers.
“I think coming in we knew they were weaker inside, so the game plan was to pound it right at them,” Kruel said.
Crane consistently battled back in the first quarter, cutting Republic’s lead to as few as one, but never taking the lead. The Lady Tigers led Crane 21-15 at the end of the first quarter.
To start the second quarter, the Lady Pirates came out attacking on offense. Crane went on a 7-2 run to start the quarter, limiting Republic’s lead to only 23-22. After Republic coach Kris Flood called a timeout, his team was able to halt Crane’s aggression and counterattack.
“We were just hoping at the beginning to handle their attack because we knew they would be fighting hard,” Flood said. “Then it turned out we were the team that was able to make a big push instead of them.”
Republic went on a 19-7 run to close the quarter, resulting in a 13-point halftime lead. Heinzler and Kruel combined for the majority of the team’s first half points, as their inside-outside game combined for 33 of the team’s 42.
“We are definitely a team that likes cushion when playing because when the score is tight we tend to get frantic and make bad plays,” Kruel said.
Crane’s top scorer is their only senior, Maggie McMenamy. McMenamy scored eight first quarter points, which kept her team in the game early. Once Republic was able to keep McMenamy from scoring though, Crane’s offense went flat. McMenamy scored 17 points in the game, but she was the lone Lady Pirate to reach double figure numbers in that category.
The fourth quarter did not prove to be much different for either team, both of which resided to their bench players once the game was deemed out of hand. Republic held onto that 20-point cushion and won the game 69-49 in dominating style.
With the victory, Republic will move on to face the winner of Nixa and Marionville. Crane will face the losing squad of that same, Nixa-Marionville match up.
Republic Scoring: Alice Heinzler 25, Sarah Kruel 21, Alex Botkin 8, Micah Mansker 5, Lindsey Carlson 4, Michayla Shanks 4, Kayla Bartelsmeyer 2
Crane Scoring: Maggie McMenamy 17, Kylee Moore 7, Riley Israel 6, Lexie Vaught 6, Allie Hagler 5, Emma Lander 3, Justeen Mahan 1, Addie Reel 1, Kylie Vaught 1