Catching up with … Republic Tigers (B)
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — After losing its entire varsity roster from a squad that went 22-6 lsat season, many assumed the Republic Tigers would be taking a significant step back this season as several newcomers work their way into the varsity rotations.
On Saturday, the Tigers showed the program isn’t rebuilding as much as it is just reloading, running away from a solid Forsyth team in convincing fashion, 60-24, as part of the Ozark Mountain Shootout at Glendale High School.
The Tigers are now 2-2 with a win over Springdale (Ark.) and close losses to Rogersville (50-44) and Rolla (51-48). The team is allowing 44 points per game through the early stages of the season.
“I thought we did a very good job of defending and keeping our opponents out of the paint (on Saturday),” Republic head coach Trevyor Fisher said. “They have some really good athletes, and we had a good defensive mindset right from the tip of the game. I was proud how we competed.
“I hope that people think we are a team that puts defense first. We like to play in the mindset. We like to take care of the ball on offense and get quality shots down the floor. We play as a unit, and hope to play the game the right way.”
Things start with 6’3 2019 guard/forward Broc Smith who played a key role for the team a year ago and is the Tigers’ only returning full time varsity player. He has been known for his outside shooting abilities, but has shown this season he is a complete player.
“Broc Smith is kind of our leader, he played a bit as a sophomore for us and he did well,” Fisher said. “This year we look for him to do a lot of things for us. That could be scoring, rebounding, playing defense and so forth. He’s a huge part of our team. Then we have four or five juniors that can step up and give us quality minutes on any given night.”
Also off to a strong start this season is 6’1 2019 guard Trent Rackley and 5’10 2019 guard Jaden Duvall. Rackley shoots it well from the outside and has provided the Tigers with a consistent second scoring option alongside Smith, while Duvall is a hard nosed point guard.
“(Rackley) is a good athlete who is always looking to play big and Duvall plays extremely hard from the guard position,” Fisher said. “He can do a lot for us when we need him to on the defensive end. He also has the ability to make some shots.”
On Saturday, 5’7 2021 guard Drew McMillan gave the Tigers a big lift off the bench, scoring 13 points and showing poise and maturity for a young player.
“He just knows how to play the game and is a solid player off the bench,” Fisher said. “We’ve been pleased with what he can do, and then we have a multitude of others who play well with those guys.”
Republic has three games still on its slate before the Blue and Gold tournament as the Tigers will face Parkview on Tuesday, Central on Friday and Bolivar the following week.
“The plan is to keep playing like we did (Saturday) and improve upon it,” Fisher said. “We needed some momentum and confidence heading into this week, and hopefully today that will give that to us.
“It’s still very early, we have a lot of things to work on. We are a young and inexperienced team. We may have some ups and downs along the way.”