Republic High School girls’ basketball coach Kris Flood said it wasn’t quite the best defensive effort he had seen from his team this season.
Nixa would beg to differ.
The defending Class 4 state champions held Nixa to eight second-half points to turn a competitive game into a 53-29 rout in the White Division semifinals of the Pink and White Lady Classic at Drury University.
With the exception of his team’s win over Kickapoo earlier this month, Flood called it the Lady Tigers’ most complete defensive effort in an 8-0 start to the season.
“The third quarter was huge,” Flood said. “I thought we turned up the defensive intensity in the second half. We just took a half to get going.”
Republic led 24-21 at halftime, then outscored Nixa 17-2 in the third period. The Lady Eagles finished the second half 3 of 18 from the field and went six minutes between baskets during one stretch in the second half.
“It was just a really, thoroughly bad eight minutes,” Nixa coach Jim Middleton said of the third quarter. “There were just not a lot of good things that occurred. We weren’t on the same page.
“And Republic sensed it and ratcheted it up a notch.”
Republic’s offense matched its defense in the second half, shooting 50 percent from the floor. Alice Heinzler led the Lady Tigers with 15 points while Alex Botkin and Sarah Kreul each scored 12. Lindsey Carlson had a game-high six rebounds.
Nixa got 11 first-half points from Jeana Raper and eight from Angie Allen. Toshua Leavitt, who went 6 for 7 from 3-point range and scored 23 points in Nixa’s quarterfinal win against Marionville, was held to four points and one 3-pointer.
Republic will play in today’s White Division championship game, which is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. at the O’Reilly Family Events Center. Nixa will play in the 5 p.m. consolation game at O’Reilly.
Little Rock Hall 66, Miller Career 57
Rutgers recruit Tyler Scaife scored 26 points as Little Rock Hall held off Miller Career Academy in the second Pink Division semifinal.
Hall will take on Ozark at 6:30 p.m. today for the Pink Division championship.
Scaife scored 12 points in the second quarter and finished the game 8 of 17 from the field and 8 of 8 from the free-throw line.
Hall led for all but 13 seconds in the game, trailing only 41-40 midway through the third quarter.
A 13-3 fourth-quarter run gave the Lady Warriors some breathing room.
Missouri State recruit Katelyn Webber had 11 points and seven rebounds for Hall, scoring seven points and grabbing five rebounds in the fourth quarter.
Branson broke open a tight game with a 12-1 run to open the third quarter and cruised to a victory over Skyline.
“I think that was a big impact on how we played in the second half,” said Branson’s Moriah Dapprich, who finished with 17 points and scored eight in the run. “Our hard work together is starting to pay off. We need to do a little bit of everything to win tomorrow.”
Ashley Forrest scored 24 points to lead Branson, making five 3-pointer.
Ashley Bishop and Madison Brethower scored 12 points each for the Lady Tigers.