Rebels succumb to rival Spartans

Grundy Center hands No. 4 Gladbrook-Reinbeck its first loss

Gladbrook-Reinbeck’s Drew Eilers (33) has his shot rejected by Grundy Center’s Jalen Kirkpatrick during the first half of Friday’s NICL West Division boys’ basketball game in Reinbeck. Grundy Center handed the host Rebels their first loss, 58-52. PHOTO BY NOAH ROHLFING

For a low-scoring contest, the Friday, Jan. 13 boys’ basketball showdown between Class 1A No. 3 (now No. 4) Gladbrook-Reinbeck and rivals Grundy Center was a game filled with big momentum swings. Scoring runs were frequent and neither team scored consistently for more than a few minutes at a time.

In the end, inconsistent offensive play spelled doom for the host Rebels as they dropped their first game of the season, 58-52. G-R is now 11-1 and 3-1 in NICL West play, and Grundy Center improved to 10-2 and 4-0.

A 9-2 start to the game, boosted by strong defense that kept Grundy Center off the scoreboard for the game’s first four minutes, led to a 13-7 lead after the first quarter for the home team. But the cushion wouldn’t last — Grundy Center scored the first 10 points of the second quarter to take the lead. The Spartans would hold on to a 22-19 halftime lead, which put the home crowd on notice.

G-R would come out hot to start the second half, using an 11-3 run to take a 30-25 lead. But soon enough the Spartans were back up 32-30 after a 7-0 run of their own. Heading into the fourth and final quarter, there was nothing to separate the two teams. Everything was up in the air.

But as soon as the fourth quarter began, trouble struck for the Rebels. In the first five possessions and three minutes of the fourth quarter, G-R did not take a single shot. The Rebels turned the ball over four times and lost possession on a jump ball, all of which led to a 9-0 Grundy Center run to establish a lead the Spartans would not relinquish.

G-R coach Scott Kiburis said it was a run the Rebels couldn’t afford to make against such a strong opponent.

“If we can’t get a shot, we’re not going to win a basketball game,” Kiburis said. “I know one of those was a layup on the other end. We’re not used to that. Credit to Grundy Center, they’ve got some talented, long, tall and athletic kids out there. They did a good job against us.”

After going down 52-40 with 1:45 left to play, G-R made one last-ditch comeback attempt by going on a 10-1 run to get within 53-50 with 45 seconds to play. However, a chance to make it a 54-53 game struck the rim and bounced out into the hands of a Spartans defender, effectively ending the Rebels’ chances.

Kiburis said G-R didn’t create enough clean looks on offense. William Kiburis scored a game-high 23 points, while Luke Riffey scored 11 and Caleb Egesdal had eight. Grundy Center swingman Jalen Kirkpatrick had 20 points and made three 3-point baskets.

“They presented such a hard look for us, especially in the first half,” Scott said. “I thought we held in there with great defense. The game got flowing in the second half, we were able to hit a couple shots. It’s hard to get a good look on them, and they were taking five-foot shots while we were taking 15-to-18 foot shots.”

Following the loss to the Spartans, the Rebels dropped from No. 3 in Class 1A to No. 4. G-R’s first chance to bounce back was Tuesday this week in a road game against South Hardin followed by a home game against AGWSR (0-11) tonight, Friday, Jan. 20, in Reinbeck.

Grundy Center 58, Gladbrook-Reinbeck 52

GLADBROOK-REINBECK (11-1, 3-1) — Luke Riffey 4 0-0 11, Isaac Clark 2 1-2 6, Caleb Egesdal 3 0-0 8, William Kiburis 9 2-2 23, Drew Eilers 1 0-0 2, Austin Vaverka 1 0-0 2, Luke Sienknecht 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 20 3-4 52.

GRUNDY CTR. 7 15 14 22 — 58

GRUNDY CENTER (10-2, 4-0) — Brody Zinkula 0 1-2 1, Brayden Wallis 1 1-2 4, Tiernan Vokes 5 1-1 12, Jalen Kirkpatrick 6 5-6 20, Patrick Brown III 2 0-0 4, Colin Gordon 4 4-4 13, Tate Jirovsky 1 0-0 2, Ryker Thoren 1 0-2 2. TOTALS 20 12-17 58.