GRUNDY CENTER - Just as quickly as they dash down the floor, the Rebels can run away from teams on the scoreboard in a hurry.
After meeting its match stride for stride through the first 18 minutes, the Gladbrook-Reinbeck boys basketball team stepped on the accelerator in the third quarter for a breakaway 81-55 win over Grundy Center in NICL West Division play Tuesday.
Joe Smoldt pushed the pace with a career-high 21 points and Cam Kickbush added 17 as the Rebels (7-1, 5-1) raced to their season-high scoring output for the second game in a row.
Gladbrook-Reinbeck junior Cam Kickbush (11) slashes to the hoop past Grundy Center’s Jordan Stoner (52) in second half action at Grundy Center Tuesday. Kickbush scored 17 points and the Rebels used a 21-3 surge in the third to pull away for an 81-55 win.
Photos by Tyler Strand
Nine different players scored for G-R, which used its active hands on the defensive end to springboard its transition attack and pull away quickly.
"On the defensive end we got really aggressive with our guards and we got a few steals," said G-R coach Scott Kiburis. "That transitioned into layups and after we got a couple of them, we were really trying to attack the basket when they were in man."
Leading 42-38 early in the third quarter, Gladbrook-Reinbeck took control of the contest with a 21-3 flurry started by Smoldt's 3-pointer and putback. Grundy Center (3-6, 3-2) tried to stop the run using two timeouts in less than a minute, though things continued to snowball as Luke Holman's corner trey extended the spread to 63-41 with 52 seconds left in the frame.
"Every kid that came off the bench - even if they started and came off the bench - gave us a lift," said Kiburis, who used the fresh legs to maintain a frenetic pace at both ends.
"It's just focus and concentration on defensive transition, which we are working on continually."
Grundy Center matched G-R's speed and intensity early and used 14-first quarter points from Austin Burroughs to stake a 19-17 lead eight minutes in. The Spartans led 25-21 on a Jordan Stoner bucket with 5:27 left in the second before the Rebels closed with a 17-6 surge to lead by seven at the half.
Grundy Center coach Rollie Ackerman liked where his team stood heading into the locker room, but the same miscues that have bothered them of late sprang up in the third.
"We wasted a heck of an effort tonight," said Ackerman. "We got into our habit of that we've been doing the past four or five ballgames of just being careless and turning the ball over, and you can't do that against a good team I don't know how many times I can say that to the guys but sooner or later we're going to get there."
Burroughs paced the Spartans with 16 points, Jordan Clapp had nine and Brady Hook and Stoner scored eight apiece. Hook also limited Zach Pierce to two points on the defensive end.
"We wasted some great individual efforts," said Ackerman, whose team dropped its fourth straight. "Brady Hook did a great job defensively on Pierce and Austin came out and shot the ball well in just his second start."
Pierce had plenty of scoring support from his teammates as Chase Clark tallied 13 points and Holman had 10, while Tyler Eiffler (7) and Cameron Clark (6) also chipped in.
Though it's Smoldt whose been the biggest spark for the Rebels of late with a combined 52 points in his last three outings.
"We forget that he's a freshman," said Kiburis. "He handles himself well and we've been able to adjust some things because he's been playing so well. He's got a great knowledge of the game and he listens to everything."
The Rebels host East Marshall Friday and Dike-New Hartford Saturday. The Spartans entertain the other half of last year's co-NICL West Champions - West Marshall - Friday.