BOLIVAR — Showing why it’s a favorite to repeat as Class 4 state champion, the Republic Tigers (25-4) ended the season Saturday afternoon for the Borgia Knights (19-9) in the state quarterfinals at Southwest Baptist University, 57-44.
The Tigers advance to Friday’s semifinals in Columbia against Helias (22-7), a 63-57 winner over Normandy. Other teams headed to Columbia are Farmington (21-9) and St. Joseph Lafayette (24-4).
In Saturday’s quarterfinal round, the Tigers used a hot start to knock the Knights out of the state tournament for the second consecutive year.
Republic’s first four field goals came from beyond the three-point arc as the Tigers dashed out of the gate to a 17-7 lead after one quarter.
Borgia experienced additional adversity when senior guard Zac Schweissguth went down with 1:28 to play in the quarter with an ankle injury. He was able to return later after getting his ankle taped.
Republic built the lead up to double digits in the second quarter, but the Knights fought back to make it 27-18 at the half.
After three quarters, the Tigers led, 40-27.
The Tigers showed why many consider them to repeat as state champions next week with quick ball movement, strong moves to the basket and accurate shooting. The Tigers dominated the boards, especially on the offensive end, during the early part of the game.
The Knights graduate five players from this year’s team, Kevin Birk, Tyler Breckenkamp, Joe Helfrich, Adam Meyer and Schweissguth.
Full coverage will be in The Wednesday Missourian.