REINBECK - The race for second place just turned AGWSR's way.
The Cougar boys' basketball team jumped out to an early lead and it withstood Gladbrook-Reinbeck's comeback for a 62-55 victory in Friday's NICL West Division clash.
The two teams entered the night tied for second place in the conference standings, both two games back of unbeaten and top-ranked West Marshall.
AGWSR (8-3, 7-2) scored its third straight win on the strength of a fast start. The Cougars led 26-13 after the first quarter, sparked by Braden Bonewitz shooting 4-for-4 from 3-point range in the opening period.
Gladbrook-Reinbeck (6-4, 6-3) fought back to within nine at the half and three at the end of three quarters. The Rebels found themselves down just one, 56-55, with 3 minutes left to play but did not score again.
Josh Bagley scored a game-high 17 points to lead AGWSR and Bonewitz finished with a season-best 15 points. Austin Heitland chipped in 11 points for the Cougars.
Parker Bolt, Colby Luethje and Camden Kickbush each scored 12 points (a season high for Kickbush) to lead the Rebels. Jacob Smoldt and Zach Pierce added eight points apiece.
Gladbrook-Reinbeck meets Dike-New Hartford in the 5:30 p.m. game of today's NICL Shootout at Wartburg College in Waverly, while AGWSR meets Wapsie Valley in the 8:30 p.m. finale.