Rebels fall to Warriors’ surge

Gladbrook-Reinbeck bows out against South Winneshiek

G-R’s William Kiburis (11) goes up for a shot against South Winneshiek’s Keagan Streeter (30) during the Rebel’s substate final game in Manchester on Feb. 27. The Rebels took a narrow 63-57 loss despite holding a lead heading into the fourth quarter. Kiburis led the team with a double-double, scoring 21 points while grabbing 10 rebounds agains the Warriors. Kiburis also tallied six assists and four steals. -- Photo by Ross Thede

MANCHESTER — Gladbrook-Reinbeck relentlessly attacked the basket, breaking down South Winneshiek’s man-to-man defense and forcing the Warriors into a zone.

It’s exactly what the Rebels wanted, or so they thought.

Gladbrook-Reinbeck roared back from a 13-point deficit during the second quarter to take an eight-point advantage into the fourth, but it was actually South Winneshiek that had the Rebels where it wanted them. The Warriors, who won each of three district games by single-digits, stymied G-R’s sharpshooters in the final period and pushed through to the state tournament with Saturday’s 63-57 victory in the Class 1A Substate 3 boys basketball final at West Delaware High School.

Gladbrook-Reinbeck, which ranks 19th in 3-pointers made in 1A, missed too many shots from beyond the arc and couldn’t get to the basket against South Winneshiek’s 2-3 zone. It was G-R’s goal to get the Warriors out of their man defense, but it ended up backfiring on the Rebels (17-4).

Instead, the Warriors (18-6) will be making their first trip to state since 1987 when the state tournament begins on March 8 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

Luke Riffey (3) puts up a shot in the face of South Winneshiek’s Trey Kriener (23) during the Class 1A Substate Final on Feb. 27. -- Photo by Ross Thede

It wasn’t how G-R head coach Scott Kiburis envisioned the game ending when his squad stormed into the fourth quarter with its largest lead of the night, but he knew it wasn’t out of the question, either. South Winneshiek won its district opener in overtime before rallying back from fourth-quarter deficits to defeat Wapsie Valley and Edgewood-Colesburg to advance to Saturday’s substate finale.

“They made comebacks in the fourth quarter against Wapsie Valley and Ed-Co, two really good teams, and I was thinking ‘that better not be us,” Kiburis said. “We got up by eight with a great second quarter and a great third quarter, but they won the first and the fourth and we ran out of gas.”

The Rebels had forced South Winneshiek into a zone defense by sending their 6-foot-7 junior Trey Kriener to the bench with his fourth foul with 1:53 left in the third quarter. William Kiburis penetrated the lane and either finished at the basket, drew a foul or found Tristen Sanford-Anders for the assist.

Gladbrook-Reinbeck finished the third on a 9-0 run, outscoring the Warriors 20-10 in the period and pulling in front 49-41. Kiburis went coast-to-coast after Sanford-Anders swatted a Keagen Streeter shot on the defensive end, sending Rebel Nation into a frenzy.

But South Winneshiek stole the momentum right back by scoring the first 10 points of the fourth quarter while limiting G-R’s lanes to attack with its handsy 2-3 zone. And the Rebels, with their assortment of 3-point shooters on the ready, couldn’t get the ball to fall.

G-R finished 7-for-24 from beyond the arc, including a frustrating 2-for-9 in the fourth quarter alone.

“Going into the game we kind of wanted them to play zone,” said Kiburis, who led the Rebels with 21 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and four steals. “We thought we could get our shooters some open jumpshots and we got quite a bit, but we just didn’t hit too many of them. I thought we still did good and I’m proud of our guys.”

Brothers Dylan and Luke Riffey both got a 3-pointer to drop in the fourth, but G-R’s only other points in the period came from a pair of Kiburis free throws with 5 seconds left. The Riffey brothers finished with nine points apiece, Sanford-Anders had 10 points and eight rebounds, and Caleb Egesdal added eight points.

“We got this far and we’re happy about it,” coach Kiburis said. “We wanted to go one step farther since we got here. We’re always greedy, we’ve done it before, we want to play in the next game and hopefully we can get here next year.”

This marked Gladbrook-Reinbeck’s sixth trip to the substate finals under Kiburis in the last 10 years, highlighted by three-straight state tournament berths from 2015-2017 and an undefeated 1A championship in 2015. This year’s Rebel rendition will graduate just three players from its roster in Dylan Riffey, Danny Gleissner and Walker Rhoades.

“It feels good to get here, it didn’t come out on the end that we wanted to, but hopefully this can carry on to the next two seasons and hopefully go all the way next time,” said the sophomore Kiburis. “We’ve played hard all season.”

South Winneshiek’s season extended behind a game-high 29 points from Jacob Herold, a senior guard who averaged 24.75 points per game in the postseason. He scored 14 of his team’s 22 points in the fourth quarter against the Rebels, finishing 13-of-22 from the field with two 3-pointers, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals.

“Jake has been our leader all year, a guy that we can rely on for so many things, but his leadership and effort have always been there,” said Warriors head coach Blake Moen. “We knew coming in we were going to have to score a lot of points. Gladbrook-Reinbeck is so well coached and they’ve got some great players.”

South Winneshiek 63, Gladbrook-Reinbeck 57

SOUTH WINNESHIEK (18-6) — Cael Kuboushek 0 2-3 2, Jacob Herold 13 1-4 29, Carson Wenthold 1 0-0 2, Trey Kriener 4 4-5 12, Collin Wiltgen 4 1-5 11, Nick Holien 0 0-0 0, Keagen Streeter 3 1-2 7. TOTALS 25 9-19 63.

GLADBROOK-REINBECK (17-4) — Luke Riffey 3 2-2 9, Caleb Egesdal 3 0-0 8, William Kiburis 6 9-14 21, Dylan Riffey 2 3-3 9, Tristen Sanford-Anders 4 0-2 10, Isaac Clark 0 0-0 0, Logan Giesking 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 18 14-21 57.

S.WINN 20 11 10 22 — 63

G-R 11 18 20 8 — 57

3-Point Goals-SW 4 (Herold 2, Wiltgen 2), G-R 7 (Egesdal 2, D. Riffey 2, Sanford-Anders 2, L. Riffey). Team Fouls-SW 15, G-R 14. Fouled out-none.