It’s been a week of no drama for the Republic Tigers.
Just three days after a 40-point thrashing of Carthage, Republic raced ahead early then maintained a comfortable lead to knock off Marshfield 67-56 at home Friday night.
“I think our defensive pressure got us off to a good start,” said Republic coach Trevyor Fisher. “We forced some turnovers and got some easy baskets. But (Marshfield) kept coming at us. We never could break it open. I credit them for playing hard and never giving up.”
The Tigers coerced Marshfield into turnovers on each of the Blue Jays’ first three possessions to race ahead 6-0. Then, after a pair of Marshfield hoops, Republic reeled off a 12-0 run to grab an 11-point lead after just one quarter.
And that was all they’d need. The Jays were never closer than 10 points the rest of the night.
“That start was important, because they’ve got a lot of good shooters and we knew they would try to get back into the game,” said Republic forward Cody Geiger. “We pressured their guards, because we knew they don’t handle pressure very well.”
And while that gave the Jays some opportunities to take the ball inside, that was a risk the Tigers were willing to take. As Fisher put it, they had to pick their poison.
“We made a conscious effort to get out on their shooters, which opened up some lanes to drive the ball,” said Fisher. “(Blayne) Armstrong can shoot it from anywhere, and they’ve got those other guards that can shoot it as well. I thought we did a good job of guarding the 3, just not guarding the penetration.”
The Jays, for their part, didn’t show any quit. After looking frazzled and committing 13 turnovers in the first half, they settled in and tightened up.
“In the second half we only had five turnovers and we only gave up five offensive rebounds,” said Marshfield coach J.C. Carter. “We gave ourselves a chance. We were playing from behind the whole time, but I felt like we did a better job. As a coach, I’m glad to see (the guys not quit). If we’re doing that at this time of year, now you can take care of some of the Xs and Os.
“I felt like tonight, against a good team, we improved. And we’re trying to improve for district time.”
Republic (13-1) had three players finish the night in double figures, paced by Geiger’s 16. The junior forward banged in the paint and also showed off some range, draining a 3-pointer from the right wing.
“He’s a big key. Not only can he shoot the ball a little bit, but he gets a lot of offensive rebounds and he’s good around the basket,” said Fisher. “Today he even knocked down a 3, so he just has that versatility to give us points in different areas.”
Post Marcus Miller added 15, and guard Jake Fletcher finished with 14, 12 of them coming in the second quarter.
Marshfield (7-6) got 16 from Kerrick Wright, 14 from Lawfton Summers, and 10 from Armstrong.
“It helps to get Summers back. It’s his first full game after missing six weeks, and you can tell he’s still getting in shape,” said Carter. “We were able to run some sets, get the shots we wanted and hit them. We do depend on the 3s, but we had some guys getting to the basket in the second half. We cut their lead down and felt like we had a chance, and that’s all you can ask for.”