By Mark Schremmer
OZARK, Mo. —
The momentum appeared to be pulling in Carl Junction’s direction.
The Bulldogs had just outscored Republic 11-5 over the previous five minutes, and Travis Vogt’s pull-up jumper with 3:35 left in the first half tied the game at 19.
Then — just like that — the momentum was gone.
Republic (27-4) answered with a 10-0 run and outscored Carl Junction 16-4 for the rest of the half to earn a 62-42 win in the Class 4 sectionals on Wednesday night at Ozark High School. The Tigers advance to face St. Francis Borgia (20-8) in the quarterfinals at 1 p.m. Saturday at Drury University in Springfield.
After Vogt’s game-tying jumper, Republic’s Marcus Miller hit an inside bucket on the next possession, then followed it another score in the paint for a 23-19 lead.
On the next play, a scramble for a loose ball that went out of bounds near Carl Junction’s bench was ruled in the Tigers’ possession.
Seconds later, Republic’s Dylan Bekemeier hit the first of two consecutive 3-pointers that capped the Tigers’ 10-0 run.
“The ball goes to them, and then they hit a 3-pointer,” Carl Junction coach Kyle Williams said. “That was a big momentum turn.”
Republic’s final 16 points of the half included eight points from the 6-foot-7 Miller and eight from Bekemeier.
“That was key,” Republic coach Trevyor Fisher said. “Dylan and Marcus did a great job of making shots during that stretch.”
After Vogt’s jumper, Carl Junction didn’t make another field goal until Ryan Devore made a layup with less than a minute remaining in the half. Republic took a 35-23 lead into halftime.
The Tigers finished with four players in double figures. Junior forward Cody Geiger led the way with 15 points. Senior guard Jacob Fletcher, Miller and Bekemeier scored 13, 11 and 11 points, respectively.
Carl Junction freshman Devore scored 12 of his team-high 14 points in the first half.
“Ryan Devore was huge off the bench,” Williams said. “He’s got a great career ahead of him.”
Vogt added nine points, while Matt Magee scored eight and Dustin Satterlee had seven.
Carl Junction finishes the season 19-11, highlighted by the school’s first district championship since 1957.
“This doesn’t diminish what these kids have accomplished this year,” Williams said. “We also want the kids to realize they need to work hard and see what it takes to get over the hump. These three seniors have started a legacy.”