East Marshall ends G-R’s NICL West streak at 51
It wasn’t far from it, as the Mustangs came to town undefeated on the season and looking to end G-R’s win streak in NICL West Division games at 51, and East Marshall was able to do just that, taking down the Class 1A No. 7 Rebels 55-35.
Mustangs head coach Adam Bauder was understandably thrilled after the game, though he said there wasn’t actually much talk about the streak heading into the matchup.
“Honestly we’ve been thinking about the streak since last year when we were up here. We had a chance and they snatched it from us,” Bauder said. “Nobody said anything about it and they never would say anything about it, but it was circled on the calendars I’m sure and they showed they were cranked up and ready to go tonight, and that’s a tribute to the way they are gamers.”
Senior Zaine Leedom, East Marshall’s leading scorer in the game with 22 points, had a big smile across his face when asked what breaking the streak meant to him, but ultimately he said this win was as good as any other one in the regular season.
“It feels good but now that we are done with this it’s just on to the next one,” Leedom said.
The Mustangs (7-0) brought the fight to Gladbrook-Reinbeck (4-1) from the opening tip, where Zane Johnson took the tip-off from Mason Skovgard, allowing East Marshall senior Eli Anderson to race in for the game’s first bucket. The Mustangs would go on to outscore the Rebels 19-9 in the first quarter, a lead they would never relinquish.
While they had won their last two games rather comfortably, Bauder said his Mustangs had given up a few too many points against BGM and BCLUW, so he was happy to see them get back to their strong defensive ways against a good G-R team.
“The last couple of games we gave up a few more points than we talk about in our practices and everything,” Bauder said. “Our number one thing is half court man defense, we try to frustrate opponents and get into passing lanes, and we got these guys under 40 tonight and that’s kind of our goal. It was good to put the clamps on again and play defense like we think we should.”
At halftime the Mustangs led 27-15, but the Rebels came out swinging in the third quarter, obviously not wanting to relinquish their long 51-game winning streak in the NICL West.
After closing the game within 10 points, Gladbrook-Reinbeck was riding a wave of momentum and East Marshall was in desperate need of changing that tide around, and they did just that off a dunk from Leedom caused by some magnificent ball movement.
Bauder said that dunk was exactly what the team needed to get back on track.
“It’s always a crowd thing and momentum thing and everyone wants to see those so it’s good when you can get one of those,” he said. “It lights a fire and when we are playing defense and something good happens on offense, it’s kind of a give and take. That helped ignite that run.”
Leedom would go on to score 10 points in the quarter, including two-made 3-pointers, as the Mustangs went into the fourth quarter up 41-29.
He said his sharp shooting after that dunk all came from the encouragement from the contingency of East Marshall fans that made the trip north.
“We slowed down a little bit in the third quarter but those plays we made really got our crowd involved, which was a big part of it,” Leedom said. “It’s awesome having those guys behind us, and once we heard them we were able to get it rolling just like we did in the first half so that was good for us.”
Joining Leedom in the double-digit scoring column was Johnson, who managed 10 points on the night, including six in the big first quarter for the Mustangs. Anderson came in next with eight while Tyler DeBondt had seven, despite the Rebels actively trying to keep the ball out of DeBondt’s hands.
Caden Kickbush was the lead scorer for Gladbrook-Reinbeck with 10 points, while Mason Skovgard had eight and Walker Thede and Jackson Kiburis each had seven.
Rebels head coach Scott Kiburis said this was a tough game against a good team, but to be where they want at the end of this season his team has to play well against good teams like the Mustangs.
“We need to compete against a team like East Marshall and we have a bunch of games to go through, this is just one game,” he said. “We have a Thursday Janesville game so we just talk about improving every time out, and we get to play them again and see where we measure up next time and see if we are improving on that end.”
This was the last game before heading off to winter break for East Marshall, and Bauder said he couldn’t ask anything more from his team than a 7-0 record with all wins coming by double figures.
“I thought this would be kind of some icing on the first half of our season. Coming in here and winning at G-R, ending the streak and those kind of things just makes it feel good,” Bauder said. “Now we can go into break and just focus on maybe putting some new stuff in and our skills and everyone will be in a much better state of mind coming off a win.”
East Marshall 55, Gladbrook-Reinbeck 35
EAST MARSHALL (7-0, 4-0) — Zaine Leedom 10 0-0 22, Zane Johnson 5 0-0 10, Eli Anderson 4 0-1 8, Tyler DeBondt 2 2-2 7, Logan Nicholson 23 0-0 4, Zach Finders 0 2-2 2, Jimmy Sylvester 0 0-0 0, Evan Espenscheid 0 0-0 0, Cade Curphy 0 2-2 2, Brayden Fahrni 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 23 6-7 55.
GLADBROOK-REINBECK (4-1, 4-1) — Walker Thede 2 2-4 7, Matt Johannsen 1 1-2 3, Caden Kickbush 2 4-6 10, Jackson Kiburis 2 3-3 7, Mason Skovgard 3 1-1 8, Tyler Tscherter 0 0-0 0, Eli Thede 0 0-0 0, Colton Clark 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 10 11-16 35.
E. Marshall 19 8 14 14 — 55
G-R 9 6 14 6 — 35
3-Point Goals–EM 3 (Leedom 2, DeBondt), G-R 4 (Kickbush 2, W. Thede, Skovgard). Total Fouls–EM 12, G-R 15. Fouled Out–none.