Taking charge: Republic’s Kirby shows leadership in unique way

Alley-oop dunk and three point buckets create some of the biggest momentum changes in basketball.

Yet, one Republic Lady Tiger has a different way of charging up her team.

“It’s definitely a skill,” said Republic Head Coach Kris Flood.

It’s a skill that takes toughness.

“You’ve got to be ready to take contact from a 6’3” post player that can handle the ball coming down [the court],” Flood said.

It takes athleticism.

“I’m in the lane and I’m quick enough to get [back] to [guarding] my man,” said Republic senior Jazzy Kirby.

It also takes a high basketball IQ.

“If I see them attack, then I’m here and I’m ready in position, so it’s honestly just reading it,” Jazzy said.

“You have to have a pretty good sense of predicting,” Flood added.

It all adds up to a state record.

“I had four my sophomore year and then I had 42 my junior year,” Jazzy said.

Now as a senior, Jazzy has totaled more than 60 career charges taken and holds the Missouri state record.

As a guard with a slight build, Jazzy’s toughness might be the most important part.

“Most of the time you can land the right way and no one is landing on you so it doesn’t hurt that bad,” she said.

Any temporary pain is well worth the outcome when Jazzy sees the effect it has on opposing teams.

“There’s been a lot of times where you know, you’re standing there in position and you’re ready and you see [the players] or you hear the [opposing] coach know to back it out,” Jazzy said.

But just because Jazzy knows the art of positioning, doesn’t mean she always gets the call.

“I might be moving backwards, but whenever [the offensive] player initiates contact or they drop their shoulder and the ref calls a block, I get frustrated, but there’s nothing you can really do about it,” she said.

“One of the assistants one time said ‘hey, you know she does hold the charge record for the state’,” Flood added.

Still, Jazzy’s efforts have started a trend.

“I’ve seen other kids now in the program that are starting to do it themselves,” Flood said.

It’s an example of how a program leader can make an impact in more ways than just scoring points.

“It’s really nice because it kind of rubs off on the team,” Jazzy said. “so I’m glad I can be a leader in that.”

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