REINBECK - Camden Kickbush and the rest of the Gladbrook-Reinbeck boys' basketball team had no issues with the girl's game going into double-overtime Friday night.
Playing under the weather for the entire night, Kickbush didn't mind having a few extra minutes to get in the right frame of mind.
When the ball was finally tossed up, the junior point guard responded with a big night, scoring 21 points and grabbing six rebounds during the Rebels' 61-55 win over rival AGWSR.
Kickbush kept G-R in the game in the first half and then helped his squad rally from a halftime deficit. He gave the Rebels a lead midway through third quarter with back-to-back buckets and the home team never trailed again and improved to 11-2 on the season.
"He was sick tonight, but he played through it," G-R coach Scott Kiburis said. "He did a fantastic job. He was confident he could take their guards off the dribble. He kept us in it in the first half and then hit some big shots and some big free throws late in the game."
The Cougars got a monster game from Austin Heitland in the loss. The senior forward scored a game-high 25 points and grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds. But the Cougars couldn't overcome a poor third quarter, where Gladbrook-Reinbeck outscored them 19-4.
"He was a man tonight. He was the best center on the floor tonight no doubt about it," AGWSR coach Russ Banzaf said of Heitland. "We got good looks. We just missed shots and turned it over and doing that is not a good recipe. The shots just weren't falling."
The shots were falling in the first half. And Heitland carried the team in the first quarter, scoring 10 points in the lane. The Cougars led 19-14 after one and then a big second quarter from Derek Schipper helped AGWSR to a 33-29 lead at the break.
Schipper scored all 10 of his points, including two 3-pointers, in the first half for the Cougars, who are now 10-5 on the year.
The Cougars went 8 minutes in the second half without a point and the Rebels took full advantage. G-R scored 16 straight points during that stretch and built an 11-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.
"We had a tough time rebounding in the first half. Our defense and defensive rebounding were very poor," said Kiburis of the first-half deficit. "They feed off each other. We knocked down a bunch of shots during that run and did a much better job on the boards. Fortunately, they missed some shots that looked good."
Heitland ended the drought with another bucket inside and then added three more buckets to close the gap to eight. Back-to-back buckets from Nathan Karsjens made it 56-50 with 1:37 to go and then a Sully Hofmeister trey made things interesting 16 seconds later.
"We haven't played too many close games," Kiburis said. "We need to get better with our decisions down the stretch. We need to work on a few things."
The Cougars had a chance to tie it but turned it over at the offensive end. That allowed Joe Smoldt and Kickbush to hit some late free throws and seal the win.
"We battled. I don't know the solution," Banzhaf said. "This has been an issue for us. I have to look at tape and evaluate it more closely. Our shots weren't much different. We didn't get as many putbacks and the turnovers didn't help."
Zach Pierce was held in check in the first half but got some big buckets in the second half during the Rebels' deciding run. He finished with 14 points, and Cameron Clark and Smoldt each added eight in the win.
It was the third straight win for G-R, while AGWSR lost its second straight after winning six in a row. The Cougars attempted just three free throws in the game. The Rebels were called for just one foul in the first half, while AGWSR was whistled for 12. The Cougars out-rebounded the Rebels 32-21, with Schipper grabbing six and Evan Janssen pulling down five. Janssen also dished out seven assists. Karsjens, a freshman, finished with nine points and four rebounds. The Cougars host Aplington-Parkersburg on Tuesday, while Gladbrook-Reinbeck is home against Jesup.