Taylor Gienger gets 1,000th point as G-R wallops South Hardin

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON - Gladbrook-Reinbeck senior Taylor Gienger (4) puts up a layup during the Rebels’ 57-25 win over South Hardin in Reinbeck on Monday. Gienger reached 1,000 points for her career with a 3-pointer in the second quarter and finished with a game-high 26 points.

REINBECK — A little bit of history occurred on Monday when the Gladbrook-Reinbeck girls basketball team hosted South Hardin in an NICL West Division game.

Not only did the Rebels trounce the Tigers, 57-25, for their largest win of the season and third victory in the last four games, G-R senior Taylor Gienger became only the second Rebel girl to amass 1,000 points in her career, joining Allison Volkens who reached that mark in 2006.

Gienger finished the night with 26 points, one shy of her career-best and her best point total this season, with her 1,000th point coming in the second quarter on a 3-pointer that touched nothing but net.

After being honored at halftime of the boys game for her accomplishment, Gienger said she feels like a weight has been lifted off of her shoulders.

“It was good, it was kind of like a little bit of pressure there. I knew it was coming, it really relieved a lot off of me,” Gienger said reaching the milestone.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON - Gladbrook-Reinbeck sophomore Belen Ellenberger (3) attempts a layup after driving past South Hardin defenders Cyrena Werner (5), Josie Raska (35) and Cora Frohwein during the Rebels’ 57-25 beatdown of the Tigers on Monday night in Reinbeck.

Gienger reached seven points in the first quarter with relative ease as her team jumped out to a 15-7 lead after the first eight minutes. She attempted a 3-pointer in that frame but couldn’t connect, then it took another couple of tries in the second quarter to finally break the 1,000-point barrier.

With her 26 total points Gienger now sits with 1,016 in her Rebel basketball career, a number she said she never thought possible before the end of her junior campaign.

“I didn’t know anything about it, I didn’t have that as a goal until really the end of my junior year, I knew that I was only 220 points away,” she said. “The beginning of this year it really hit me like, ‘I can do this,’ so that was a big goal of mine.”

Gladbrook-Reinbeck girls basketball coach Bruce Bailey, who has had the pleasure to coach both 1,000-point scorers in Rebel history, said it truly is a great feat what Gienger has accomplished.

“You’ve got to start as a freshman, and not many girls do that if they’ve had better girls ahead of them. Taylor has been able to do that, there’s been one other girl who has done this, and other than that, that’s it. She’s the second girl, and that says a lot,” Bailey said. “It’s a hard thing to get to, you’ve got to be consistent, you’ve got to play a lot of games and you’ve got to stay healthy.”

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON

During the first two years of her career, Gienger and the Rebels had a total of six wins. Last year G-R finished with seven wins and this year already the Rebels are up to six after beating South Hardin, and Bailey said a lot of that growth in the program is because of Gienger.

“It’s not only what she does on game nights. She doesn’t miss practice, she is one of the first ones there and the last ones to leave and she works hard in practice,” he said. “She’s really settled in I think this year, when she was younger she would get down on herself a little bit but she has worked her way through that mentally, which is a big part of it. She has done a whole bunch for this team. She is a great kid.”

While Gienger was the story of the night, she wasn’t the only Rebel who got it done against the Tigers on Monday. Mahayla Olson finished behind Gienger with nine points, while Saari Kuehl and Belen Ellenberger both had eight points.

Gienger said the main difference between even last year’s team and this year’s is the options they have on the court outside of her.

“It helps to have Reagan Skovgard back, she hasn’t been back since she was a freshman because she had some knee problems so that has helped a lot,” Gienger said. “Saari has stepped up this year too, so that’s been good.”

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON

Bailey said those other girls have been able to have success because of the way Gienger gets them involved.

“She has done a much better job this year of assisting. She will find that open girl on the fast break or dump it down in the half court,” Bailey said. “She does a real good job, keeps her head up. She works real hard to get her own shot but she knows if she gets double-teamed them somebody is coming and she usually can find them.”

The Rebels (6-10, 2-7) are on their best stretch of the season so far, as they’ve won three of the last four games with the lone defeat coming via a 45-41 loss to Class 1A No. 9 AGWSR. Bailey said the difference in play really started during the team’s win over Starmont four games ago.

“I saw something change in the second half of the Starmont game, something kind of clicked like, ‘hey, we need to step it up a little bit,’ and things just started to click,” he said. “We played Ackley in a close game, hung right in and played good defense against them. Went to Dunkerton and did the same thing tonight. I’ve seen improvement in the last four or five games, we just have to clean some things up and make sure we don’t have a bad quarter opposed to four good quarters.”

The Rebels have just five games left on the schedule before heading to the postseason, starting with a road test at Sumner-Fredricksburg tonight, weather depending. Gienger said now that she has her 1,000th point, she’s ready to take on the rest of the schedule.

T-R PHOTO BY THORN COMPTON

“We are starting to click really well lately and I feel pretty good with postseason starting in the next couple of weeks,” Gienger said. “I can just go play, it doesn’t matter how much I score.”

Gladbrook-Reinbeck 57, South Hardin 25

At Reinbeck

SOUTH HARDIN (0-15, 0-9) — Cyrena Werner 1 0-0 2, Ellie Cook 2 0-0 4, Emma Spieker 1 0-0 2, Cara Frohwein 2 1-1 5, Sarah England 2 1-2 5, Claire Brinkmeyer 0 0-0 0, Kassidy Winter 0 0-0 0, Josie Raska 1 0-0 2, Morgan Havens 0 0-0 0, Maddie Maifield 2 1-1 5. TOTALS 11 3-4 25.

GLADBROOK-REINBECK (6-10, 2-7) — Taylor Gienger 9 4-7 26, Mahayla Olson 3 3-9 9, Reagan Skovgard 2 0-0 4, Saari Kuehl 3 2-2 8, Rachel Cooley 1 0-0 2, Belen Ellenberger 2 4-5 8, Brianna Strohbehn 0 0-0 0, Hannah Quackenbush 0 0-0 0, Katie Clark 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 20 13-20 57.

S. HARDIN 7 4 4 10 — 25

G-R 15 12 7 23 — 57

3-Point Goals–G-R 4 (Gienger 4). Total Fouls–SH 16, G-R 13. Fouled Out–Cooley.