Apparently, when the Republic High School girls’ basketball team won Class 4 state last March, girls throughout the city enjoyed the taste of winning.
Because more than 10 months later, the Tigers still haven’t lost.
At any level.
The Republic program is a staggering 68-0 this winter after the freshman team moved to 15-0 with a victory Wednesday night at Glendale.
That mark includes two completed perfect seasons at the seventh- and eighth-grade levels, where coaches led their new teams to 15-0 records. The program is led by the varsity, ranked No. 1 in the News-Leader area and No. 2 statewide in Class 4 by the coaches, compiling a 14-0 record.
“We don’t talk about it, we don’t really say anything about it, but I’m sure in the back of their minds, they know it,” Republic coach Kris Flood said. “They are not cocky, but they do have confidence in themselves. We’ve got a little bit of depth and that always helps.
“They’ve just kind of figured out that they’re at least going to stay in something.”
Truth is, it’s the opponents that have had trouble staying in games against the Lady Tigers.
Flood’s group has five senior starters who have transitioned from program-builders with hopes of becoming program-bridges for life without them.
“I definitely don’t want to leave a program just in shambles,” said senior Sarah Kreul. “It feels good that the team I practice with every day is going to be fine without us. It’s just a ripple effect.”
With so much winning going on in Republic, it’s safe to anticipate the Lady Tigers staying near the top of the area scene. Flood credited his fellow program coaches Tori Mooneyham, Sarah Barnhart, Brandon Joines and Megan Jewell for keeping the development going in the lower levels.
The seniors also will be fine, as college commitments and the experience of winning has the team at ease in every situation.
“I can see it in all of us, we just are relaxed, and don’t have to strees any of that (college futures),” senior Alex Botkin said. “We’re just focused on what we’re doing now instead of preparing for something for the future.”
Botkin has signed with Southwest Baptist, and teammates Kreul and Alice Heinzler have signed at the College of the Ozarks — Kreul as a volleyball setter, Heinzler as a high-scoring guard.
Along with fellow senior starters Kayla Bartelsmeyer and Lindsey Carlson, Flood has a mature group that is ready for anything.
Tough Central Ozark Conference games with Ozark, Webb City and Nixa loom for Republic, which plays tonight against Blue Valley Southwest (Kan.) in the Nevada Classic, which wraps up Saturday.
“They really turn it on when they have to turn it on, and they know they have to get some stops and stuff, and they get after it,” Flood said. “The main thing is they’ve played together so long, since third grade.
“They just know how to win.”