Rebels pummel Plainsmen, 83-28
For the first eight minutes, the Class 1A No. 6 Gladbrook-Reinbeck boys’ basketball team found itself in a dogfight.
For the next eight minutes, it was evident the Rebels were the big dog.
Gladbrook-Reinbeck broke open a close game by outscoring Belle Plaine 35-4 in the second quarter on its way to an 83-28 victory over Belle Plaine in Thursday’s District 7 semifinal.
The Rebels (22-1) got double-digit scoring from four players, led by a game-high 22 from William Kiburis, and turned away the Plainsmen (15-8) in convincing fashion.
“I thought we took advantage of the fact we could guard them 100 percent full court without gambling too much,” said G-R head coach Scott Kiburis, “and I think that took them out of their offense. We did cause some turnovers but we did it with a series of guys like Isaac Clark and Austin Vaverka who have not played a lot up front and they really did a good job today.”
Clark and Vaverka each accounted for one of the Rebels’ 10 3-pointers in the game as six different Gladbrook-Reinbeck players sunk a shot from distance. Kiburis cashed in four of them, while Caleb Egesdal broke free from the box-and-one targeting him long enough to knock down two 3-pointers as well.
Egesdal, who averages 11.5 points per game, was limited to just six points, but he served as a viable distraction for the Belle Plaine defense. The Plainsmen, instead, had trouble stopping the rest of the Rebels, especially when G-R’s half-court run-and-jump formula started producing points.
Leading 16-10 after the first quarter, Gladbrook-Reinbeck helped to create eight turnovers as the Rebels scored the first 23 points of the second period. Clark, Egesdal and Vaverka each made a 3-pointer during that spurt that spanned 5 minutes, 16 seconds, before Belle Plaine’s Eli Ehlen got his team on the board with a runner in the lane.
Ehlen added another bucket before G-R scored the final 10 points of the half for an insurmountable 51-14 lead.
“We thought we could get them to turn it over, and we knew they’re not great perimeter shooters,” coach Kiburis said. “The first quarter was close and we wanted to get some separation from them so that maybe they had to start going for 3s and doing some different things.”
G-R’s full-court man defense forced Belle Plaine senior forward Ben DeMeulenaere to dribble the ball up court for his squad, but the Rebels were ready for his drives to the basket. Averaging 20.7 points per game going into the district semifinal, Gladbrook-Reinbeck held him to a team-leading eight points.
“That kid’s good,” coach Kiburis said. “If they get in a set offense, if they can get set up, they’re going to go to him. If he gets the ball he’s really hard to stop.”
Instead, the Plainsmen matched their season-low scoring output as Gladbrook-Reinbeck reached the 80-point plateau for the second time in as many postseason games while extending their winning streak to seven.
Tristen Sanford-Anders finished with 13 points for the Rebels, while Clark and Luke Riffey contributed 11 points apiece. Riffey scored seven of G-R’s first nine points before picking up his second personal foul, but the rest of the Rebels got going by the time he returned to the lineup.
Drew Eilers added five points, and Luke Sienknecht and Logan Giesking added four apiece during the fourth quarter as the running clock rule took effect.
“I thought Isaac Clark, Drew Eilers and Austin Vaverka played such a huge role in this game and played really well today,” coach Kiburis said. “I also thought we defensive rebounded really well and we turned that into offense too.”
The Rebels will return to the court on Tuesday in Center Point for a 7 p.m. district final against Alburnett (17-6). The Pirates beat Hudson 67-47 in the second game of Thursday’s doubleheader in Reinbeck.
On the other side of the Substate 4 bracket, Springville (19-4) will face Bellevue (11-12) in the District 8 final after Bellevue bumped off No. 7 Easton Valley, 45-42, on the River Hawks’ home court in Preston.
The Substate 4 final will be Feb. 26 at Clear Creek-Amana High School in Tiffin.
Gladbrook-Reinbeck 83, Belle Plaine 28
BELLE PLAINE (15-8) — Wyatt Kuch 0 0-0 0, Keaton Parrott 0 1-2 1, Ben DeMeulenaere 3 2-2 8, Eli Ehlen 3 0-0 7, Ty Alcott 0 0-0 0, Mason Eggleston 0 0-0 0, Sam DeMeulenaere 1 1-1 3, Jeffrey Jacobi 0 0-0 0, Cejay Mumby 0 0-0 0, Jax Stamp 1 1-2 3, Brooks DeMeulenaere 3 0-0 6. TOTALS 11 5-7 28.
GLADBROOK-REINBECK (22-1) — Isaac Clark 5 0-1 11, Luke Riffey 5 0-0 11, Caleb Egesdal 2 0-0 6, William Kiburis 8 2-2 22, Tristen Sanford-Anders 5 2-5 13, Isaac Baer 1 0-0 2, Logan Giesking 2 0-0 4, Austin Vaverka 1 0-0 3, Drake Blakesley 1 0-0 2, Luke Sienknecht 2 0-0 4, Drew Eilers 2 1-1 5, Nick Tscherter 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 34 5-9 83.
BELLE PLAINE 10 4 4 10 — 28
G-R 16 35 18 14 — 83
3-Point Goals-Belle Plaine 1 (Ehlen), G-R 10 (Kiburis 4, Egesdal 2, Clark, Riffey, Vaverka, Sanford-Anders). Team Fouls-Belle Plaine 11, G-R 9. Fouled Out-none.