Rebels run out of steam

No. 2 Bellevue Marquette comes from behind to oust G-R, 45-36

The Gladbrook-Reinbeck boys’ basketball team pictured with the Class 1A state quarterfinalist trophy following Monday’s 45-36 loss to Bellevue Marquette. Student athletes pictured include Trevor Mathern, Isaac Clark, Brandon Mathern, Austin Gehring, Austen Mathern, Hudson Clark, Austin Vaverka, Cameron Sieh, Drew Eilers, Michael Boyd, Hunter Roberts, Thomas Keller, and Jonas Kristensen. PHOTO BY JAKE RYDER

DES MOINES — Gladbrook-Reinbeck boys basketball has prevailed before in uncomfortable moments this postseason to return to the Class 1A state tournament.

Bellevue Marquette Catholic was just too tall of a challenge for the Rebels, rallying to knock down G-R 45-36 in a 1A quarterfinal at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines this past Monday afternoon.

The Rebels (21-6) led 30-23 with three minutes left in the third quarter and then were outscored 13-4 over the next 10 minutes in a stretch that included seven G-R turnovers.

“I felt like if we could get into what we do, and knock down a shot, that we could dictate the end of that game,” G-R head coach Scott Kiburis said. “We’ve been playing really well in close games and finishing them off, but we just didn’t get to that point.”

Isaac Clark led the Rebels with 11 points and Drew Eilers contributed seven points and 15 rebounds in a first half where G-R dominated the glass, particularly with a 7-1 advantage on offensive rebounding.

Gladbrook-Reinbeck senior guard Isaac Clark (2) drives baseline around Bellevue Marquette’s Eli Scott during the opening half of Monday’s Class 1A state quarterfinal basketball game at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. Clark had a team-high 11 points in the Rebels’ season-ending defeat. PHOTO BY JAKE RYDER

“I thought our defense really worked hard,” said Eilers, a junior. “We were going after loose balls, it just felt like we wanted to win a lot.”

​​“I figure we might as well play guys instead of letting us lose the game with guys on the bench that have fouls to give,” Kiburis said. “But having him out changed things. And we were doing such a good job of not allowing them to get baskets that it’s heartbreaking to know that it was them winning at the foul line. But they were the aggressor on offense.”

The extra shots bailed out a poor-shooting Marquette offense that went 4-of-10 in the first quarter from the floor and then shot 26 percent the rest of the game.

“We’re just a physical team, and fast,” said Isaac Clark, a senior. “I think we did a good job there, it just came down to free throws.”

As the game wore on, the Defenders turned up to full-court pressure, getting 11 points off 10 second-half turnovers and adding eight second-chance baskets from nine offensive rebounds.

“Gladbrook-Reinbeck is an excellent rebounding team, they’ve dominated that category,” Marquette coach Isaac Sturm said. “We felt like that was a focal point of this game where we needed to dominate the boards and their bigs — I think their bigs shocked us at first with how physical they were on defense and having good movement on offense, but we eventually communicated and switched them better in the second half. And once we got some stops, our offense got going.”

Isaac Clark has now led a G-R football team to the state semifinals and was part of a senior group with Austin Gehring and Austin Vaverka that helped bring an under-the-radar Rebel team back to The Well.

“I don’t think anybody expected us to be where we’re at,” Clark said. “And it was great to experience it again, playing with my best friends.”

Kiburis praised Clark for his defensive effort of holding Marquette’s leading scorer, Spencer Roeder, to only six points, including 1-of-10 shooting from the floor.

“He just goes out there and wins games,” Kiburis said. “Austin Gehring was a leader for us on our scout team to be the other team’s best player and gave us a good look at what we were going to see. And Vaverka’s been part of really good basketball teams, great football teams, gone to state in track, plays baseball for us. He’s just a fun kid to have around.”

Clark was the only senior in the starting five on Monday. Those that have a chance to come back are ready to take on the opportunity.

“No one really thought we were going to be here besides the guys in our locker room,” Eilers said. “It was great to prove people wrong. We’ve got a lot of guys that got playing time down here that will be back and they know what it takes to get here now. Hopefully we can do it again, but it all starts at the beginning of next year.”