Posted: Thursday, 15 November 2012 10:11AM

Republic girls look to defend state title

Springfield, Mo. (  -- The Republic Lady Tigers are out to defend their Class 4 state title this season, and they’ll get to do so with many of the same players that helped them win it last March.

Leading scorer Alice Heinzler, a 5-foot-5 guard who recently signed with College of the Ozarks, is back for her final season after averaging nearly 14 points per game as a junior.

Republic will be senior-laden as Alex Botkin (9.0 ppg, 4.0 apg), Lindsey Carlson (3.2 ppg, 3.4 rpg), Sarah Kreul (10.0 ppg, 4.6 rpg) and Kayla Bartelsmeyer (4.2 ppg) will see major minutes.

Another varsity letterwinner, Baylee Rayl, joins guards Micah Mansker, Mikayla Shanks and 6-foot-1 sophomore forward Tori Taylor on what should be a deep Republic team.

“Expectations will be fairly high with a good core of kids back from that team last year,” said Kris Flood, who begins his 14th season as Republic head coach. “Staying healthy as always and getting the younger kids to step up and fill some key spots from (graduated) players will be key.”

Gone for Republic are Alexis Edwards (7.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg, now playing at Southwest Baptist) and Brooke Dutton (8.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg).

With their top three scorers from last season (Heinzler, Kreul, Botkin) all back, Republic stands to be a contender once again in the Central Ozark Conference-Large Division. The Lady Tigers were 23-8 overall last season, and Flood has amassed a mark of 269-95 during his time at the school.

Republic also has a revamped non-conference schedule that includes dates with Sullivan, Westminster Christian Academy and Dexter.

The Lady Tigers begin the season Nov. 26 at the Aurora Tournament. Their home opener is Dec. 10 against Springfield Central.

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