By Jordan Burton (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Tim Brown’s fourth season will look a little different than the previous three. For the first time, he won’t have Drew McMillin in the lineup. The All-State guard set single-game, season and career records for 3-point makes, with the single-game record (16) also matching a state record.
The Tigers will miss his 23 PPG and the 64-20 record he helped the program to, including a 22-7 mark last year.
But, the show will go on and this is hardly a rebuild for a Republic team that returns three starters and will be the first group to have a full cycle with Coach Brown. Expectations are still high in RepMo.
“Our coaching staff and our players are excited about this upcoming basketball season,” said Brown. “We have an experienced group returning and a good mix of upperclassmen that understand our program’s culture, identity and expectations. We also have a good group of underclassmen and newcomers that are ready to compete and contribute to our basketball program so we are expecting our standards to remain high.”
Leading the way for Republic will be one of the top guards in the Ozarks in 6-foot-1 junior Ahlante Askew. As a sophomore he averaged 14 points and 2.5 assists while also earning a reputation as one of the state’s best defenders.
He was an All-COC and All-District pick last year.
“Te is a special basketball player and we are glad that he’s in our program,” said Brown. “He has grown so much the last two years, he has started since his freshman year and has been a huge part of the success that our program has experienced during his time so far. We feel like he is taking the next step in his development now that he is an upperclassman and is one of the elite guards and players in the state. It is going to be fun to see him continue to grow and develop the next two years as he transitions into his role on our basketball team.”
Also returning to the starting lineup are a pair of 6-foot-2 seniors in Devon McMillin and Avery Moody. McMillin averaged five points and 2.4 rebounds while Moody – also a football standout – added six points and four boards.
“We look for Devon to bring energy, effort and execution to our basketball team,” said Brown. “He is very coachable and has the ability to make perimeter shots and make plays for his teammates. We look for him to be a guy that can use his athleticism to impact the game on the defensive end of the floor.
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“Avery is highly competitive and is great at executing our game plan. He is selfless on both ends of the floor and makes plays for his teammates on the offensive end of the floor. He is also a great screener and cutter in our offensive system and shot 64% from the floor. He also led our team in charges taken with 17.”
Brown is also excited about the return of senior guard Will Fronabarger. He didn’t start for Republic last year, but played key minutes in 27 games. He will see an expanded role this winter.
“Will is a skilled guard and a good shooter,” said Brown. “He has great floor vision and a high athletic IQ, he does a great job of running our system.”
There is also a bevy of young talent coming.
Junior Kamari Edwards – standing 6-foot-5 and weighing 215 pounds – will have a chance to establish himself this season. Classmate Gunner Ellison is another gritty guard that’ll see rotational minutes. Freshman Brenley Hagewood is one of the top young talents in the league and is expected to immediately compete for varsity minutes.
Brown is excited about what he sees from the sophomore and junior classes as a whole.
“We have an experienced group of sophomore/juniors who have experienced success at the JV level and have won a lot of games. They are a very professional group, who prepare and practice the right way and are very coachable.”
Republic remains as one of the area’s premier programs with nine 20-win seasons since 2010, including a pair of state championships.
Brown has been able to continue what Travyor Fisher did in his time. And, for the Tigers to continue to work back towards another Final Four run, Brown believes they must continue to be who they’ve been.
“I feel very thankful to be able to be a part of a community and school district that has so much pride in their school and athletics,” said Brown. “It is a privilege to get to lead this basketball program and have kids that expect to win and compete at the highest level each season.
“For us to continue the success that our program has had and meet the expectations that our program has to compete for championships we are going to have to do the things we have always done; play great defense and pay attention to our assignments and game plan. On offense, we have to control the tempo and shoot high percentage shots. We are going to have to make it a grind on both ends for our opponents every single night. Our players are bought into this and know that those things have made us successful and give us a chance to win each night.”
Republic will jamboree at Rogersville, joining Parkview and Nixa before opening the 2021-22 season on Dec. 2 by hosting the 57th Republic Invitational.