Rebels look inside to top Tigers
ELDORA – The Gladbrook-Reinbeck boys’ basketball team is not a one-horse show.
Some nights, Camden Kickbush or Joe Smoldt get things going from outside. Other nights belong to Colton Dinsdale or Chase Clark on the fast break.
On Tuesday night, it was Zach Pierce’s night.
The big man had plenty of opportunities to score against South Hardin and the junior took advantage inside, scoring a game-high 25 points during the Rebels’ 62-49 victory in North Iowa Cedar League West Division play.
“It’s big to control the paint,” Pierce said. “I was able to get some easy looks early in the game and then they started doubling down and that is when I was able to find my great open shooters.”
Pierce scored the Rebels’ first seven points and his teammates found him early and often after that. South Hardin just didn’t have an answer.
The Rebels built an 18-7 lead in the first quarter and were never really threatened from that point on.
When Pierce wasn’t dominating the paint, freshman Joe Smoldt was keeping the Tiger defenders honest on the wing. Smoldt hit two 3-pointers in the first quarter and then his back-to-back triples in the second frame gave the Rebels a 25-14 lead after South Hardin had gotten within five.
“Pierce is a good player. We knew that coming in,” South Hardin coach Adam Weig said. “When you front him, it’s tough to box him out. Once he’s in there, it’s hard to get him out of there.
“We played hard in the fourth quarter, but we have issues with playing together right now. We didn’t play together for 2 1/2 quarters and until we do that, we won’t take ourselves to the next level.”
South Hardin trailed by 15 at the break and after three. The Tigers closed to within eight late in the game, but Clark’s three-point play pushed the lead back to double-figures and allowed the Rebels to close out the win.
“We left a lot of points on the floor. We made some pretty poor passing decisions late in the game,” G-R coach Scott Kiburis said.
The victory came on the heels of G-R’s second loss of the season. The Rebels were defeated by Dike-New Hartford on Saturday despite leading the game by nine at one point.
“This was big. We talked about failure. We didn’t play that well late in that game. We played really well in the first half tonight though,” Kiburis said. “This was a good win. South Hardin is a good team and we needed to come ready to play.”
Pierce said the loss was tough but it was good to just get back on the floor and back to winning games.
“It was nice to get back on the court,” said Pierce. “It was important to get another win. We played really well tonight.”
Smoldt scored 13 points for the Rebels, who are now 9-2 overall and 7-1 in NICL West Division play.
Kickbush and Dinsdale each scored eight points but it was what they did at the other end that impressed Kiburis.
Dinsdale was responsible for slowing down South Hardin point guard Eric Mulder, who came in averaging 21 points per game. Mulder though finished with just nine points and seven assists against the Rebels. Kickbush also made things tough for Sam Shindelar on the outside. Shindelar scored a team-high 15 but most of those points were hard to come by.
“Colton Dinsdale and Camden Kickbush did a great job on their top scorers,” Kiburis said. “They had to work for those points. We put Colton on their best player and we just tell him to try to contain as much as he could. They got some points late in the game, but when it mattered most, those guys were able to take away their best guards.”
Weig was impressed with Dinsdale’s defense, but also added that his team needs to do a better job offensively to make things easier on themselves.
“We just aren’t moving the ball. We take quick shots, but we also aren’t rebounding it at that end either,” he said.
Glendon Mesch finished in double figures with 12 points, while David Shindelar and Andrew Wiechmann each scored seven for the Tigers, who dropped 2-6 overall and 2-4 in league play.
The Rebels have had two four-game win streaks this year but each time have lost the next game. … It was South Hardin’s third straight loss. … The Rebels’ win finished off a sweep of the Tigers. Gladbrook-Reinbeck won the season opener at home 62-49. Four G-R players scored in double figures, while Mulder and Sam Shindelar combined to score 36 of South Hardin’s 49 points.