G-R grinds out one-point win

Rebels outlast Maquoketa Valley on verge of state

Gladbrook-Reinbeck’s Dylan Riffey flies to the rim against Maquoketa Valley in the Class 1A district final. The Rebels win puts them one game away from the state tournament. G-R will face South Winneshiek Saturday in Manchester. Photo by Noah Rohlfing

INDEPENDENCE — Playoff basketball at any level of competition sometimes entails winning games that don’t suit the team’s preferred style — and Gladbrook-Reinbeck was proof of that Tuesday night in a slow-paced matchup with Maquoketa Valley.

The Rebels (17-3) ground out a 41-40 victory with a last-minute William Kiburis basket to be crowned Class 1A District 5 champions and move on to Saturday’s substate finals for a chance at the state tournament — and it was anything but easy.

From the start, the Wildcats (12-12) were physical on the defensive end and set out to put G-R off schedule. The plan worked, as the Rebels struggled to create fast-break points with their usual frequency. G-R also continued a trend from its prior two playoff games of not shooting to its regular-season standards. The Rebels made just one shot in the first quarter, scoring six of their eight points at the free-throw line.

Head coach Scott Kiburis was very complimentary of Maquoketa Valley’s ability to control the pace.

“We knew the game was going to be close,” Scott said. “They’re such a well-coached team, such a disciplined team in what they do with the two guards. They kinda control the tempo of the game. We want to go fast. We want lots of possessions and want to get in a groove, we want to press a little bit and try to get some tips and they don’t allow too much of that.”

G-R was able to take a 23-22 lead into the halftime break thanks in large part to strong defensive play and a 10-point scoring half from Luke Riffey.

The Wildcats showed up in the third quarter with an extra gear of intensity, ratcheting up the physicality (and forcing the refs to have to decide what to call) and causing turnovers in the transitions between offense and defense. Normally, G-R thrives in fast-break transitions. But Tuesday, the up-court passes William usually connected on were getting tipped and picked off by retreating Wildcat defenders. On the other end of the court, the Wildcats continued to hit threes. Maquoketa Valley hit as many threes (seven) as twos in the game.

The lead swapped back and forth throughout the second half — and with less than a minute left, the Wildcats were up 40-39.

G-R missed two technical free throws, but with 34 seconds left, William found an open lane and connected on a floater to put the Rebels ahead for good. He scored a game-high 18 points. Luke Riffey scored 12, and Avery Holtz led the Wildcats with 13 points.

But the game wasn’t over — Maquoketa Valley missed a wide-open three and after grabbing the rebound, the Rebels were forced to inbound the ball four times in the final ten seconds of game action to secure the win.

“Really tough to do,” William said. “To inbound it so many times in a row without them getting a steal or having something bad happen.”

The Rebels’ reward is a matchup with South Winneshiek Saturday at 7 p.m. The game will take place at West Delaware High School in Manchester to find out who will reach state.

Gladbrook-Reinbeck 41, Maquoketa Valley 40

MAQUOKETA VALLEY (12-12) — Avery Holtz 5 0-0 13, AJ Ambundo 2 3-3 9, Andrew Holtz 3 1-2 8, Miguel Bojorquez 3 1-1 8, Jacorrey Wallace 1 0-0 2, Owen Mensen 0 0-0 0, Lucas Orcutt 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 14 5-6 40.

GLADBROOK-REINBECK (17-3) — Luke Riffey 5 0-0 12, Caleb Egesdal 1 0-0 2, William Kiburis 6 4-5 18, Dylan Riffey 2 0-2 5, Tristen Sanford-Anders 1 0-0 2, Isaac Clark 0 0-0 0, Logan Giesking 0 2-2 2. TOTALS 15 6-9 41.

M.V. 11 11 10 8 — 40

G-R 8 15 7 11 — 41

3-Point Goals-MV 7 (Av. Holtz 3, Ambundo 2, An. Holtz, Bojorquez), G-R 5 (L. Riffey 2, Kiburis 2, D. Riffey). Team Fouls-MV 11, G-R 7. Fouled out-none.