In one of the most emotional finishes of the tournament, the Republic Lady Tigers came from behind to defeat Center (Kansas City) 51-49 in the Class 4 semifinal round of the MSHSAA tournament at Hearnes Center on Friday.
The Lady Tigers trailed by 10 with seven minutes remaining, but worked the ball into the post against a smaller Center team to close the deficit. Senior forward Kelsey Lock made a pair of clutch free throws with 56 seconds left that proved to be the difference for Republic. Lock led Republic with 16 points.
"We had a lot of things go our way today," Republic coach Kris Flood said. "We'll take it and get ready for tomorrow."
The come from behind win was reminiscent of the Lady Tiger's comeback victory against Buffalo on Feb. 27. The win, in the district tournament, allowed Republic to advance.
"We didn't get frustrated," Lock said. "We could have easily given up, but we've been there before."
The Lady Tigers advance to play Duchesne, the defending champions, in the final round at 12:25 p.m. on Saturday at Hearnes Center.
Republic sophomore Amanda Gardner's playing status for Saturday's game is unclear. Gardner collided with a courtside reporter in the closing minutes of the game. Flood said Gardner may have hyper-extended her right knee, but it was too early to determine the severity of the injury. Gardner scored 13 against Center.