For the No. 2 seeded Republic Tigers (7-1) it was a business-like, and downright dominant, display they put on in their Greenwood Blue and Gold Tournament, Gold Division opener against Aurora on Wednesday.
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The Tigers, defending champions in the Gold Division, jumped out to a 16-6 first quarter lead and never looked back as they topped the Houn’ Dawgs 64-25 to advance to the second round in the 67th edition of the local tournament.
Republic will take on seventh-seeded Hartville at 8 p.m. on Thursday in the second round of the tournament at JQH Arena.
Republic opened up from long range against Aurora hitting four 3-pointers in the opening period – two from Jake Fletcher and two more from Canyon Smith, who came off the bench to score 14 points for the Tigers.
“I talked to our guys about coming out no matter who we play and taking care of business,” said Republic coach Trevyor Fisher. “I just want our guys to keep doing what they do in practice. I was happy with the effort tonight.”
The Tigers were led by Fletcher who finished with 17 points and four rebounds and Marcus Miller who had 12 points and five rebounds. Cody Geiger had just four points for Republic, but added nine rebounds.
The Republic defense harried Aurora throughout the game forcing 23 turnovers and limiting the Houn’ Dawgs shot attempts from the field.
“(Each game in the tournament) I just want to keep getting better, especially on the defensive end,” said Fisher. “They know if they’re going to see playing time they have to play defense, and I thought we did a good job pressuring their guards.”
Aurora (4-4) was led by Clayton Sumners 8 points. The Houn’ Dawgs will play Spokane Thursday at Hammons Student Center in the loser’s bracket at 8 p.m.
Gold Division Opening Round
Aurora 6 10 6 3 – 25
2. Republic 16 23 18 7 – 64
Aurora – Andrew Parker 5, Clayton Sumners 8, Garrett Bader 2, Corey Gregory 5, Josh Fronabarger 2, Billy Meredith 3.
Republic – Dylan Bekemeier 4, Jake Fletcher 17, Marcus Miller 12, Grant Hancock 9, Cody Geiger 4, Canyon Smith 14, Derric Mertes 4.
Thursday, Dec. 27 – 2. Republic vs. 7. Hartville, 8 p.m. at JQH; Aurora vs. Spokane, 8 p.m., Hammons Student Center