AGWSR girls use fouls to advantage in win over Rebels

REINBECK – The Gladbrook-Reinbeck helter-skelter system is predicated on full-court pressure and up-tempo style of play.

And it worked for a half Friday against rival AGWSR, but too many fouls and too many missed shots on offense slowed things down.

The Cougars took full advantage on their end as they took much better care of the ball in the second half, hit seven of their final nine free throws and rallied from a 12-point first-half deficit during a 77-67 North Iowa Cedar League victory.

“We struggled in that first half and allowed their pressure to get to us,” AGWSR coach Laurie Gann said. “Once we got enough confidence in knowing that we could get through it, we played much better. We took care of the ball in the second half, too.”

The Cougars’ win keeps them in third place in the NICL at 7-2. They only trail Grundy Center and West Marshall by one game after the Trojans knocked off the Spartans on Friday in State Center.

Gladbrook-Reinbeck’s full-court nonstop pressure bothered the Cougars in the first half and the Rebels came out hot on the offensive end. They ended the first quarter on an 8-2 run and then went up 25-13 following a 3 by Taylor Flamme.

“We shot the ball well in the first half,” Gladbrook-Reinbeck coach Bruce Bailey said. “We get up a lot of shots, but they just didn’t fall for us in the second half.”

The Cougars (8-5, 7-2) got easy buckets when they did break the press and that kept them in the game as they only trailed by six at the break.

AGWSR senior Ella Frazier was held to just one point at the break but got it going in the final two quarters.

Frazier scored four straight points – including a three-point play – with her team down five and then ended the third period with five straight points to give the Cougars a one-point advantage heading into the final frame.

After two ties at 51 and 53, the Cougars rolled off nine straight points to grab their largest lead of the game. The 9-0 spurt featured five points from Kristen Zacharias, who finished with a team-high 17 points on the night.

Gladbrook-Reinbeck put the Cougars into the bonus late in the third quarter. Up to that point, the Cougars were just 12-of-23 from the foul line. AGWSR finished the game by hitting seven of its final nine attempts and that helped seal the victory and avoid the upset.

“We need to do a better job from the line,” Gann said. “We’ve struggled from the line all year long, but we always seem to make them late in close games. That is when you want to make them, but that is something we definitely have to work on.”

The fouls and the fact that the Cougars put up 32 foul shots slowed the game down mightily in the second half, which puts the Rebels at a disadvantage with their fast-paced system.

“We couldn’t find our rhythm in the second half after we started to foul them,” Bailey said. “We were unable to wear them down and we were just too aggressive on defense.”

Five players scored in double-figures for the Cougars and Zacharias’ 17 points led the way. Frazier scored 15 points in the second half to finish with 16, while Madi Fryslie added 14 and Kim Ellingson totaled 13 off the bench. Ellingson was 9-of-15 from the line but made 5-of-6 in the final quarter. Jayne Wiarda also had 10 points in the win.

“We are usually a pretty balanced team,” Gann said. “I thought Kim gave us a big boost off the bench tonight. She really helped us out a lot.”

Emily Snider led the Rebels (4-8, 3-6) with 22 points, while Erin Wentzien finished with 13 points.