Gladbrook-Reinbeck steers clear of BCLUW

REINBECK – It’s not quite the five-in, five-out frenetic pacing of years’ past.

Though the Rebels can still stir up plenty of controlled chaos that can overwhelm opponents.

Giving first-year coach Eric Crandall his first win at the helm, the Gladbrook-Reinbeck girls’ basketball team used its persistent pressure to push past BCLUW 53-32 in an NICL West Division showdown Friday.

Leading 26-18 at the half, the Rebels (1-3, 1-2) fired off a 15-3 flourish in the third quarter to take command. Britney Keller led the surge scoring 13 of her career-high 16 points after halftime including four 3-pointers.

“Coming into the year I thought our athleticism and our aggressiveness were going to be some strengths,” said Crandall, who has made some adjustments from the Grinnell College-style attack used in the past.

Though he’s still kept enough from that system intact for his players to flourish.

“Our helter-skelter worked tonight. We still want to execute and move the ball around to get people the ball in good spots, but the first few minutes of the third quarter were key. The confidence is just growing.”

G-R amassed 18 steals overall and several came during their third quarter breakaway as their 28-22 advantage widened to 43-25 during a four-minute span. Keller buried two treys and scored eight points during the run. A defining moment of the rally came when Nicole Adair leaped to save a ball from going out of bounds and seconds later Amber Berendes drilled a 3.

The Rebels used those kind of hustle plays to overcome any shooting deficiencies as neither squad established much of a rhythm at the offensive end.

G-R started to pull away in second quarter with a 9-1 surge pushing the gap to 26-14, before four straight points by Nicolette Simpson brought BCLUW (2-3, 1-2) back within eight at the break. Simpson led the Comets with 10 points and Olivia Callaway added nine.

Berendes tallied 12 points and five boards for the Rebels, while Ellie Stoakes had 10 points and five rebounds. Adair had six points and six steals, and Hayley Weber grabbed a team-high nine boards.

“They played a lot faster than us and with more urgency than us,” said BCLUW coach Jess VanderWeerdt.

“They played a lot sounder than us and played with more urgency, valuing every possession on offense and defense. Our girls had some good shots, we just shot terrible.”

VanderWeerdt had his club at 23 percent shooting with 28 turnovers as G-R’s defense kept pressure on the Comets throughout.

“G-R was aggressive in the passing lanes and we were a little bit passive,” said VanderWeerdt. “They did a pretty good job of taking advantage of those turnovers and attacking the basket. We didn’t always attack them. They definitely outplayed us and played a lot harder than us tonight.”

BCLUW hosts Valley Lutheran today and travels to West Marshall Tuesday. The Rebels head to AGWSR Tuesday.