Gladbrook-Reinbeck has its own version of Ali Farokhmanesh's late-game heroics, and it helped the Rebels gain their first-ever substate appearance.
Parker Bolt's 3-pointer with 44 seconds remaining broke a 42-all tie and accounted for the final margin as the Gladbrook-Reinbeck boys' basketball team triumphed over Lynnville-Sully, 45-42, in Thursday's Class 1A District 12 final at the Roundhouse.
The Rebels (15-8) advance to Saturday's Substate 6 final at Cedar Rapids Prairie against Iowa Mennonite (21-4), which dispatched 10th-ranked Lone Tree 59-35 in Thursday's round.
T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE
Gladbrook-Reinbeck senior Parker Bolt (14) celebrates after the final horn sounded on the Rebels’ 45-42 victory over Lynnville-Sully in the Class 1A District 12 finals on Thursday night at the Roundhouse. Bolt had 15 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Rebels to their first-ever substate berth.
Lynnville-Sully (20-4), which had back-to-back trips to state in tow, couldn't make it three in a row. Bolt wouldn't allow it.
The G-R senior tallied team-highs of 15 points and 11 rebounds and was there to contest Lynnville-Sully's potential tying 3-pointer as time expired.
That after he gave the Rebels their three-point lead with an uncontested 3-pointer from the wing - much like Farokhmanesh did to help Northern Iowa knock off top-ranked Kansas during the 2010 NCAA tournament.
"It's funny because we were talking about that before the game," said Bolt. "Andy Meyers is a big UNI Panthers fan, and he's like, 'Parker, if you're alone for three and the game's on the line, you shoot it just like Ali.' So I was just thinking 'follow through, just shoot it like you normally would,' and it went in.
"It's awesome, kind of like a Cinderella story."
The Rebels' run to the substate finals sounds like something out of a fairy tale, but G-R head coach Scott Kiburis would claim otherwise.
"I think we set ourselves up perfectly, we played really good competition - West Marshall, AGWSR, Hudson - and we didn't lose to anybody poor," he said. "The fact that we don't have a lot of wins, well, you learn a lot more from a loss than you do a victory so we've had a couple opportunities to do that."
But the Rebels led by as many as eight, 19-11, during the first half despite post players Colby Luethje and Zach Pierce relegated to the bench because of foul trouble. Bolt had four points in the paint and Jacob Smoldt added one of G-R's seven 3-pointers, yet Lynnville-Sully stayed within striking distance and only trailed by five at the half.
The Hawks, whose only losses had been to sixth-ranked Keota (twice) and Eddyville-Blakesburg (the only 2A team they played), came out of the locker room firing. Darin Hofer hit two of his five 3-pointers and TJ Cunningham, the only holdover from last year's starting lineup, hit two more, and Lynnville-Sully had leapfrogged the Rebels, 32-29.
A trey by Brady Van Wyk to open the fourth quarter made it 36-31 Hawks, but G-R fired back behind a Camden Kickbush 3 and back-to-back layups from Brady Billerbeck on assists by Luethje.
Luethje's only points followed another Hofer trifecta to give G-R a 40-39 lead, but Van Wyk ticketed Luethje for his fourth foul with a three-point play that gave L-S a 42-40 edge with 1:27 to play.
Pierce answered with a baby hook from the right block, and Bolt buried the dagger 3-pointer the next time down the court.
"Oh man, I said 'shoot it, shoot it, shoot it,'" said Kiburis. "I've been trying to get him to shoot the three-pointer all year. I just said 'let it fly,' and he did, at the perfect time."
If only he could have netted a free throw or two to save some of the drama. Bolt went to the line with 28 seconds left and missed the front end of a one-and-one, and Lynnville-Sully had two chances to tie it up.
Hofer took first crack at it from the corner, and Cale Van Wyk came up with the long rebound and had to launch Lynnville-Sully's last desperation shot over Bolt's outstretched right hand.
"There's just so much going through my head," said Bolt. "I'm just thinking play good defense and close the game out, don't give up an open shot, make sure the guy has a hand in his face.
"We were able to pull it out, it's one of the best sports experiences I've had. It was awesome."
Behind Bolt's double-double, the freshman Pierce finished with 10 points and six rebounds. Smoldt had eight points and four assists, Kickbush made a pair of treys for six points, and Billerbeck charted four points, six rebounds and six assists.
"It's unbelievable," said Pierce. "We've had to prove ourselves and we've really stuck together as a team. The chemistry's been unbelievable.
"It's just been a good ride so far."
Hofer's 15 points led Lynnville-Sully, while Brady Van Wyk added 10 and Cunningham had nine. The Hawks had advanced to last year's state tournament with a substate win over Colo-NESCO inside the Roundhouse.