In a battle for the Class 4, District 11 championship, the host team Logan-Rogersville Wildcats matched up with the top-seeded Republic Tigers (24-4). In a four-quarter battle, Republic came out on top 61-41 to claim the championship and keep it’s playoff hopes alive.
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“We took it personal this year and knew we would meet them (Logan-Rogersville) right back here and that is what we wanted, to play Rogersville for this championship game,” said Republic senior point guard Jake Fletcher.
Republic came out firing on both ends of the court. Senior center Marcus Miller commanded the inside during the first quarter. The Tigers’ offense was run through Miller in the post, scoring and kicking the ball out to his teammates for good looks. Republic’s backcourt, which consists of senior Jake Fletcher and junior Dylan Bekemeier, were the recipients of those plays from Miller. Behind consistent offense and equally impressive defense, Republic possessed a 21-4 lead after the first quarter.
“We really came out and executed very well offensively,” said Republic head coach Trevyor Fisher. “We hit some shots, played some very good defense and rebounded, and you couldn’t ask for a better start than that.”
Logan-Rogersville was completely out of sync in the first-half. Justus Boever was the lone consistent player on the offensive end. He did struggle however when he was guarded by Republic senior Grant Hancock, a dynamic big man who can play inside and outside. Boever scored 12 of the team’s 16 first-half points. With little production from the rest of the team, and Republic executing at the high level that they were, the Wildcats dug themselves a hole that seemed nearly impossible to get out of.
The Tigers led Rogersville 32-16 at the half. Miller, Fletcher, and Bekemeier each had seven points in the first-half to lead the balanced scoring charge of Republic. Add to that the strong defense in the first quarter and electrifying dunk in the second quarter from Hancock, and the result was a big lead for the Tigers.
However, with the game still within striking distance of the Wildcats, Republic knew there was still a lot of basketball still to be played.
“We knew they were going to make a run,” said Fisher. “They’re a very good team that can shoot the three. We told out guys you just got to stay poised, keep making the right decisions, and just keep attacking.”
The third quarter is when the game began to swing in favor of the Wildcats. Sophomore forward Ben Vinyard came off the bench to provide a jolt for Rogersville’s offense. Vinyard scored seven points in the third to help Boever, who had nine points in the quarter, and the rest of the team cut Republic’s lead down to only eight points at one point. Even though they were outscored 19-13 in the period, Republic still had a commanding 45-35 lead heading into the final quarter.
“We wanted to stay aggressive and keep attacking,” said Fletcher. “We were able to do that with them running and jumping. Having that early lead, they had to make moves and stay aggressive on defense so we just took it right back at them.”
In order to finish the game strong and secure the district title, Republic had to bring back the clamp down defense used in the opening half. The Tigers brought the intensity in the fourth, allowing Rogersville to score just six points in the quarter. Along with Fletcher knocking a three pointer followed by an and-one basket the next trip down the floor with just under six minutes remaining in the game, Republic was in control to close the contest.
“Our seniors have been through this stuff before a couple years ago so that experience really helped,” said Fisher. “They stepped up in the biggest of ways on a big night. And then our juniors stepped up and played well right there with them so it was an entire tem effort from top to bottom.”
For Rogersville, the season is officially over. For Republic’s playoff dreams though, they are still alive as they advance to the Class 4 state tournament.
Republic Scoring: Jake Fletcher 19, Dylan Bekemeier 14, Ty Abney 7, Grant Hancock 7, Marcus Miller 7, Cody Geiger 6, Canyon Smith 1
Logan-Rogersville Scoring: Justus Boever 25, Ben Vinyard 7, Aaron Freeman 5, Marcus Gorman 4