Despite a close first half, the Lady Tiger’s defensive pressure was too much for Nixa to handle, as Republic advances to the finals of the White Division with a big win over the Lady Eagles, 53-31.
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Republic jumped out to an early lead over Nixa after Alex Botkin knocked down a pair of 3s in the first quarter. The Eagles failed to jumpstart their offense due to Republic’s powerful defensive pressure, missing five shots within three feet of the
basket through two quarters, and was 1-4 at the free throw line.
Though, Jeana Raper finished the first half with 11 points, five of which came within the final minute of the second quarter to pull the Lady Eagles within three, 24-21.
“We were pretty evenly matched with Nixa, and the first half was right there where I thought it would be,” said Coach Kris Flood.
After halftime, Republic’s third quarter was one for the books, holding Nixa to only two points and knocking down 17. The Lady Tigers forced three Nixa turnovers in the first minute of play which would pave the way for Republic as Nixa falls by a margin of 22.
“The third quarter was huge, probably the best quarter we have played on both ends at this point," said Flood. "We turned up our defensive intensity in the second half. The girls just took their game to the next level.”
Republic was led by Alice Heinzler with a game-high 15 point performance, Sarah Krewl and Alex Botkin both finished with 12. Nixa’s Raper was held to only 11 points, all of which came in the first half.
“We have the late start tomorrow night, so we’ll try to take advantage of that and save our energy against Branson,” said Flood. “We can’t ask for anything better than being undefeated. The Pink and White really gages our team chemistry against the stiff competition, but I’m pleased with how things went for us tonight. It would be a very unique opportunity to take home the 2012 Pink and White Lady Classic championship.”
Republic will battle Branson in the championship Dec. 29 at 8:00 PM at the O'Reilly Family Event Center.