REPUBLIC — The Republic Lady Tigers thought they could exploit the young Neosho Lady Wildcats' ballhandling and force turnovers and capitalize on them for points during their Central Ozark Conference opener Monday night.

Sure enough, that's what happened, especially in the second half, as Republic earned a 55-32 victory.

Down 24-15 at halftime, Neosho fell behind 20 points entering the fourth thanks to a 19-8 third quarter in favor of Republic.

Jade Kirby led all scorers with 17 points, Halli Bartelsmeyer added 14 points, the trio of Clara Fronabarger, Anna Bell, and Jazzy Kirby each had six, Savana Powell-Goodman added three, and Delaney Smith and Carle Ward combined for the other three points, Smith two and Ward one.

Madison Flynn paced Neosho with 15 points and she was the only double-digit scorer for the Lady Wildcats as the other five point scorers combined for the other 17 points. Olivia Hixson had seven points, Kristy Pace four, Brylee King three, Halley Merrell two, and Michelle Lindsay one.

Neosho dropped to 5-8 overall and 0-1 COC, and the Lady Wildcats look to end their three-game skid Friday night on the road against Willard.

Willard stands at 8-5 overall and 0-1 COC after their 61-39 loss Monday to Nixa, but the Lady Tigers returned to action Thursday night at home against Lebanon.