REINBECK - Gladbrook-Reinbeck greeted its old coach with respect and appreciation for conference championships of the past.
Then the Rebels made sure Grundy Center didn't follow their lead.
Gladbrook-Reinbeck held their rivals scoreless for a 5-minute stretch of the first and second quarters, jumping out to a 19-6 lead and eventually a 53-41 victory over Grundy Center in head coach Jason Kirkpatrick's return to Reinbeck as the visitor.
Kirkpatrick, a 1996 Grundy Center graduate, coached G-R to consecutive conference titles (2006-07, 2007-08) before putting down the clipboard last winter. He picked it up again this year at his alma mater but saw his team get bumped off on Friday night.
"It hit me a little bit (Thursday) night when I went over (to Reinbeck) to help coach junior varsity against G-R," Kirkpatrick said. "Today was getting ready for a game like normal, but still it was a little different facing G-R."
"I thought it was a good fan section there. Like anybody else on the road, you've got to expect a loud crowd and a crowd that gets into the game. I enjoy that part of it, we have these rivalries in our conference and the kids enjoy playing in them."
Parker Bolt scored 17 points, Colby Luethje had 14 points and Jacob Smoldt added 10 as Gladbrook-Reinbeck (2-2, 1-2) got its first NICL West win. Logan Petersen tallied seven points, eight assists and five steals to help the Rebels get one on their old coach.
"Basketball is basketball, it's a blast to coach in the NICL West and obviously tonight was from a different perspective," said Kirkpatrick. "It's a lot of fun to go into these great gyms on a Friday night, what else would you want to do?
"With my guys I'm just trying to get us to play better basketball, play better defense and push the ball on offense and look to score."
The Spartans (2-2, 1-1) got a game-high 19 points from Joel Rust, 15 of which came in the second half as Grundy Center outscored G-R 25-21 but could not overcome the 16-point halftime deficit.
Jordan Curren chipped in with seven points and Austin Appel had six in Grundy Center's second of three straight conference road games. The Spartans play Tuesday night at BCLUW, while Gladbrook-Reinbeck goes to East Marshall.