Rebels stroll past Colo-NESCO

Gladbrook-Reinbeck sophomore Megan Cooley, center, passes out of the paint as she’s surrounded by Colo-NESCO defenders Izabell Voelker (20), Emma Wilson (24) and McKenzie Niemeyer (10) during the second half of Thursday’s Class 1A Region 6 basketball game in Colo. -- Photo by Noah Rohlfing

COLO — Three minutes into the second quarter of Thursday night’s Class 1A girls’ basketball Region 6 first-round game between Colo-NESCO and Gladbrook-Reinbeck, the Rebels went up a gear.

A 9-0 run took the score from 10-5 to 19-5, and by the time the halftime buzzer rang out the score was 27-7. The game was in essence over, as long as the Rebels continued to play their game.

They did — and earned a rematch against AGWSR for Tuesday in the process.

The 55-28 victory for the 9-10 Rebels was one they earned without starters Belen Ellenberger and Mahayla Olson, relying on Emma McClintock, Lauren Boyer and Adriel Summers for minutes at the guard positions.

Another wrinkle G-R has implemented in the past few games has been utilizing senior wing Saari Kuehl as a point forward of sorts, initiating offensive sets and bringing the ball up on fast breaks.

Rebels guard Emma McClintock looks to pass over the outstretched arms of Colo-NESCO's Emma Wilson (24) during the Rebels first round playoff game on Feb. 11. -- Photo by Noah Rohlfing

But the lack of starters put more pressure on the G-R bigs, who had a size advantage against the Royals.

Coach Roger Oberhauser said the Rebels focused on getting the post play going early on, which led to more opportunities on the perimeter as the game went on.

“I felt that we went after our strength, knowing that we have size,” Oberhauser said. “That was the plan. I thought we forced it a few times but then made some adjustments and then we were able to hit outside shots.”

Forward Katie Clark scored a game-high 17 points, while fellow post Megan Cooley scored 15 points — all of them inside the paint or at the free-throw line. Saari Kuehl hit the team’s only two 3-pointers and finished with 14 points.

The second half started with another G-R run to take the lead to 30 points at 41-11. From there, the Rebels were practically assured a spot in the next round. Colo-NESCO scored 21 points in the second half to keep G-R from extending the lead further, but it didn’t matter to the end result. The Royals end the season with an 11-9 record. Jenna Banks led the team with 11 points and McKenzie Niemeyer scored 10.

Freshman Lauren Boyer shoots from long distance during Gladbrook-Reinbeck's opening round playoff game against Colo-NESCO on Feb. 11. Boyer finished with three points, helping the Rebels to a 55-28 win over the Royals. -- Photo by Noah Rohlfing

Up next for Gladbrook-Reinbeck is a road trip to Ackley to play AGWSR Tuesday. The Rebels ended the regular season earlier in the week with a 53-32 loss to AGWSR, so Oberhauser and his team have recent tape to go over and figure out how to fare better this time around.

“They’re big, they’re tall, they’re physical,” Oberhauser said. “They’ve got some great players and they’re well-coached. We’re just gonna have to hit the film and see what worked and what doesn’t.”