Rebels dunk No. 5 Raiders
Gladbrook-Reinbeck ruins Dunkerton’s perfect season, 65-49
REINBECK — Entering Thursday’s matchup between the Gladbrook-Reinbeck boys basketball team and Class 1A No. 5 Dunkerton, the Rebels and Raiders only had three losses between them, and all three of those belonged to the home team.
For the first time this season, however, it was Dunkerton who walked away on the losing end, as G-R never trailed in a 65-49 win over the top team from the Iowa Star Conference.
Rebels senior Caden Kickbush, who led all scorers with 23 in the game, said he and the rest of his teammates wanted to send a message that they are still a power in 1A basketball.
“This was a big win, this just shows us where we are trying to get to,” Kickbush said. “We just want to show that we can play with the big boys now.”
Gladbrook-Reinbeck (9-3) got off to a great start in the game, with Tyler Tscherter knocking down his first two shots of the day from behind the 3-point line, sparking the Rebels to a 15-4 run to open the game.
G-R head coach Scott Kiburis said starting so hot helped the boys handle the constant pressure Dunkerton (12-1) tries to run throughout the game, pressure the Rebels have struggled with in earlier losses to East Marshall and Aplington-Parkersburg.
“I thought the first quarter we came out well. We’ve been working on breaking the press since we played A-P earlier in the year and we spent time working on breaking the press, it just wasn’t overly successful in that game,” Kiburis said. “We did a better job today, but we scored early and that’s a huge part of it. Tyler Tscherter hit two 3’s to start the game and Caden and Mason [Skovgard] got some points inside, so that worked out well and we got a lead.”
Of course the highly-ranked Raiders wouldn’t go away easy, as they started the second quarter on an 11-1 run to tie up the game at 27-all. Though their offense had stagnated a bit, the Rebels were able to keep their heads above water, and they outscored Dunkerton 5-3 to close out the half with a two-point advantage.
G-R continued to build on that momentum with their opening possession in the third quarter on a couple of inside scores, and before anyone in attendance blinked it was back to a double-digit lead on an 8-0 Rebel run to start the second half.
“They made a great comeback there in that second quarter, they got the momentum and they did what they do, attack the basket and dish and they can knock down threes,” Kiburis said. “Second half we gained momentum scoring on that first possession to give us a four-point lead, we got the ball inside on some of the stuff we were running. They tried to take away our inside shots there in the second quarter so in the third quarter we made a little adjustment there in a couple of sets and they then they started missing threes.”
Dunkerton would go on another five-point run to cut the G-R lead in half, 42-37, but the Rebels finished the third quarter by outscoring the Raiders 7-2 to back up by double figures for good.
Kickbush scored seven points during both the third and fourth quarters to close out the second half strong, and Kiburis said he’s come a long way this season in his ability to score in the paint.
“He has worked really hard, he’s been a perimeter player his entire career but he’s grown so much and he’s worked so hard on his inside game,” Kiburis said. “He got some smooth baskets in there in some crucial situations to take a lead from six to eight or from eight to 10, which is much easier to play with considering the amount of pressure they play with.”
While Kickbush was the leading scorer for G-R, he wasn’t alone in having a good night, as Matt Johannsen and Walker Thede finished the game with 12 and 11 points respectively. Kiburis said those guys were important offensively, especially with Johannsen scoring eight of his 12 in the final quarter, but where those two contribute most is on the defensive side.
“Matt and Walker are just really quick. They are very quick kids, and on a basketball court sometimes it’s tough to understand how fast somebody is, but they are two guys covering a huge amount of ground at the top,” Kiburis said. “We played nothing but zone today and they were covering so many good shooters out there, and they were getting tips and steals and sometimes almost a steal. They are our key defenders and we can do a lot of different things with them, today they played the top half of our 2-3 zone.”
Tscherter was next in scoring with nine points, while Skovgard and Jackson Kiburis rounded out the Rebel scoring with five apiece. Coach Kiburis said both Skovgard and Jackson were important pieces all night because of their ability to provide relief in the press.
“Jackson and Mason did a good job relieving the pressure and coming up to get the basketball so we could throw over a little bit,” coach Kiburis said. “Mason is such a terrific athlete, I mean he’s 6-foot-6 and he’s a football player and he’s got a wide body. This is the first year he’s played inside, which is crazy, but his skills are in catching and relieving pressure so he does a really good job for us.”
The Rebels have to feel good about taking down a top-5 team in their class, but they can’t rest on this win too long, as another tough stretch of NICL West Division matchups kicks off tonight when they travel to South Hardin.
Coming down the stretch, G-R has the ability to win yet another divisional title, something Kiburis said isn’t far from his mind.
“That’s always a goal for the coaching staff and for the kids, we’ve been fortunate enough to do it quite a few times in a row, but that’s the thing, we only get to enjoy this win for a little bit of time because we have South Hardin tomorrow,” Kiburis said. “South Hardin is so improved, they almost beat West Marshall the other night and they have a special player in [Kevin Rewoldt] and they are well coached. We have to get rid of this and go play some very difficult games to end.”
Gladbrook-Reinbeck tips off with the Tigers in Eldora tonight, starting at 7:45 p.m.
Gladbrook-Reinbeck 65, Dunkerton 49
DUNKERTON (12-1) — Zach Johnson 2 2-4 8, Travis Schake 0 0-0 0, Brady Happel 7 2-2 18, Kaleb Westendorf 6 1-1 18, Dalton Burch 2 1-2 5, Brady Stone 1 1-2 3, George Peterson 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 18 7-10 49.
GLADBROOK-REINBECK (9-3) — Tyler Tscherter 3 1-2 9, Walker Thede 4 2-3 11, Matt Johannsen 5 2-3 12, Caden Kickbush 9 4-5 23, Mason Skovgard 2 1-2 5, Jackson Kiburis 1 3-4 5, Colton Clark 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 24 13-19 65.
Dunkerton 16 14 7 12 — 49
G-R 26 6 15 18 — 65
3-Point Goals–Dunkerton 6 (Johnson 2, Happel 2, Westendorf 2), G-R 4 (Tscherter 2, Thede, Kickbush). Total Fouls–Dunkerton 17, G-R 8. Fouled Out–none.