Sophomore Kiburis chasing memories, dreams at G-R
REINBECK — William Kiburis had his picture in the trophy case at Gladbrook-Reinbeck Junior/Senior High School before he’d ever stepped foot in the building as a student.
He’s hoping the next time his face graces the walls at GRHS will be on his own merit.
William was a 10-year-old ballboy when his father, Scott, coached the Gladbrook-Reinbeck boys’ basketball team to an undefeated Class 1A state championship in 2015. The Rebels went 28-0 behind future Mr. Basketball Joe Smoldt, and William had front-row seats for every win along the way.
Gladbrook-Reinbeck got back to the state tournament each of the next two seasons, so success is all William knew for the boys wearing Rebel blue.
Now a sophomore standout on the basketball team, William walks by the murals and trophies every day and sees the banners commemorating the Rebels’ state title that he played the smallest of parts in.
“It was always fun to be around the guys you see playing on the high school team, always wanting to be like them — winning games, score a lot of points, all that stuff,” said William, the Times-Republican’s All-Area Boys Basketball Co-Player of the Year. “It’s a fun atmosphere being around the basketball team.
“It was pretty fun having the experience of going to the state tournament, and hopefully now I can do that as a player and have a different experience. It definitely hurts not making it this year and being that close and not getting there, but we’ve also got to realize we’re a really young team and we should have a good shot the next couple of years.”
Scott, in his 12th season as head coach at Gladbrook-Reinbeck, watched as his youthful squad overachieved during a pandemic-plagued season and finished 17-4, falling one win shy of the program’s first state tournament appearance since making three-straight from 2015-17.
William, who was listed as a 5-foot, 11-inch freshman guard a year ago, stretched three more inches in the offseason and settled in around 6-2 for his sophomore campaign. Already adept at getting to the basket, now he had the length to finish at the rim.
William earned Class 1A all-state third team honors from the Iowa Print Sports Writers Association and was named the NICL West Division’s Outstanding Player after a season in which he averaged 19 points, 7.3 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 3.2 steals per game.
“When we won a state title in Colorado, my oldest son Jackson was on the bench and Will was in the crowd as an infant,” Scott said. “William has probably been to 90 percent of every practice I’ve ever had since he was born.”
William’s growing legacy had humble beginnings as a team manager for his dad’s Rebels in the midst of the school’s back-to-back-to-back showings at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. Some of Scott’s favorite memories of William in that time were when he’d plant himself in the middle of a team huddle, gnawing on a dill pickle.
“He always counted how many chairs to see if he could sit on the end of the bench,” Scott said. “He wanted to be as close as he could to all of it.”
That’s when William’s love for the game began to bud, and the Rebels are reaping the rewards as he blossoms.
William was the Rebels’ second-leading scorer as a freshman, averaging 14.7 points per game to go with 4.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.3 steals per contest. One year later and a few more notches up the ruler, William had Gladbrook-Reinbeck on the verge of hanging another state banner.
“It was fun watching (three-straight trips to state) go down, and I never even thought about playing at state when I was there, but now that I’m in high school and we got that close, I want to be there,” William said. “I want to be able to play in the state tournament and hopefully we can get that done.”
Scott thinks another inch or two, maybe a few more pounds and a more consistent stroke from outside will do William and the Rebels well down the road.
“I just expect him to be like all the other good players we’ve had at Gladbrook-Reinbeck,” Scott said. “You’re going to show up to every practice, work really hard, spend time after practice shooting, call the other kids to get them there for open gym — so I guess I just expect that, but he wants to do it. He wants more than sometimes I want to provide because sometimes I’m tired of being at school.
“But it’s fun. It’s fun to watch it and see your son getting to be part of a group that was way more successful than we all thought they were going to be this year.”
And while the Rebels exceeded everyone’s expectations, they didn’t meet William’s hopes and dreams.
“I think that I have the capability of being a pretty good basketball player and hopefully that can help our team win as many games as possible and go as far as we can in the playoffs the next couple years,” he said. “Hopefully these next two years are good years, we make state and do well down there — that’s the ultimate goal I would say.”
2020-2021 Times-Republican All-Area Boys Basketball Teams
Co-Players of the Year — Taurice Grant, sr., Meskwaki, and William Kiburis, so., Gladbrook-Reinbeck
Co-Coaches of the Year — Garrett Bear, Meskwaki, and Scott Kiburis, Gladbrook-Reinbeck
Logan Bowie, sr., East Marshall; Avery Bryant, sr., GMG; Prince Jallah, so.,
Marshalltown; Drew Runner, sr., East Marshall; Armonniey Thomas, jr., Marshalltown; Osceola Tyon, jr., Meskwaki
Isaiah Borgos, sr., Marshalltown; Ethan Espenscheid, sr., East Marshall; Drake Kapayou, so., Marshalltown; Jesse Moore, sr., BCLUW; Evan Nelson, sr., Meskwaki; Tristen Sanford-Anders, jr., Gladbrook-Reinbeck
Bishop Chavez, sr., Meskwaki; Noah Gallentine, sr., BCLUW; Grant Greazel, jr., Marshalltown; Gabe Kopriva, jr., North Tama; Dylan Riffey, sr., Gladbrook-Reinbeck; Joey Tollefson, jr., West Marshall; Tiernan Wanatee, sr., Meskwaki; Jabari Woodbury, fr., GMG.
Former All-Area Players of the Year
2019-20 — Armonniey Thomas, so., Marshalltown
2018-19 — Tátè Bear, sr., Meskwaki Settlement
2017-18 — Luke Appel, sr., Marshalltown
2016-17 — Joe Smoldt, sr., Gladbrook-Reinbeck
2015-16 — Joe Smoldt, jr., Gladbrook-Reinbeck
2014-15 — Camden Kickbush, sr., Gladbrook-Reinbeck
2013-14 — Zach Pierce, jr., Gladbrook-Reinbeck
2012-13 — Mitchell Boerm, sr., North Tama
2011-12 — Michael Newton, sr., West Marshall
2010-11 — Trent Trowbridge, sr., Marshalltown
2009-10 — Chanse Creekmur, sr., Marshalltown
2008-09 — Chanse Creekmur, jr., Marshalltown
2007-08 — Walker Seim, sr., East Marshall
2006-07 — Tyson Dirks, sr., Gladbrook-Reinbeck
2005-06 — Justin Green, sr., Eldora-New Providence
2004-05 — David Walters, sr., BCLUW