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Rebels with a cause: G-R statebound

Top-ranked Gladbrook-Reinbeck gains first state basketball berth by bouncing West Central

March 8, 2015
TYLER STRAND - Central Iowa Press , Reinbeck Courier

INDEPENDENCE - There's no hiding from West Central's Ethan Steinbronn on the court.

The Rebels' best solution started by taking it right at the 6-foot-10 center.

Putting Steinbronn in early foul trouble, the Gladbrook-Reinbeck boys basketball team seized momentum in the second quarter en route to a 73-49 victory over West Central in Saturday's Class 1A Substate 3 final.

Article Photos

From left, Gladbrook Reinbeck’s Cam Kickbush, Phillip Zimmerman, Zach Pierce, Cameron Clark and Luke Holman celebrate after receiving their state qualifier banner Saturday in Independence. The top-ranked Rebels beat West Central 73-49 to earn their first state tournament berth and improve to 25-0.

Camden Kickbush drilled five 3-pointers for 21 points, Zach Pierce scored 16 and grabbed 12 rebounds, and Joe Smoldt added 15 points as the top-ranked Rebels (25-0) earned their first state tournament berth in school history.

Gladbrook-Reinbeck earned the No. 1 seed and will face Nodaway Valley (19-6) in a quarterfinal game at the Iowa High School Boys State Basketball Tournament March 9 at 10:30 a.m. at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

Steinbronn scored his team's first eight points before picking up his second foul with 2:53 left in the opening frame. The Blue Devils (21-4) still held on to a 12-10 lead without their top threat on the floor but the West Central senior was hesitant to contest as many shots when he returned in the second.

Fact Box

Gladbrook-Reinbeck 73,

West Central 49

At Independence

WEST CENTRAL (21-4) - James Niemann 1 0-0 3, Joe Wolfe 5 0-2 10, Dustin Gordon 2 0-0 6, Matt Langel 0 0-0 0, Ethan Steinbronn 10 3-5 24, Brady Forsyth 3 0-0 6, Andrew Squires 0 0-0 0, Collin Kane 0 0-2 0, Thomas Leverington 0 0-0 0, Lincoln Fuhs 0 0-0 0, Andrew Sharff 0 0-0 0, Bryce Allwood 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 21 3-9 49.

GLADBROOK-REINBECK (25-0) - Camden Kickbush 6 4-4 21, Colton Dinsdale 3 0-4 6, Joe Smoldt 4 6-7 15, Zach Pierce 4 8-12 16, Cameron Clark 2 1-1 5, Jeff Tscherter 0 0-0 0, Brock Bystricky 0 0-0 0, Josh Cooley 0 0-0 0, Matt Roeding 0 0-0 0, Luke Holman 3 2-2 10, Brady Kuehl 0 0-0 0, Tyler Eiffler 0 0-0 0, Tyler Pierce 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 22 21-30 73.

WEST CENTRAL, 12, 7, 15, 15, -, 49

G-R, 10, 25, 15, 23, -, 73

3-Point Goals-West Central 4 (Gordon 2, Steinbronn, Niemann), Gladbrook-Reinbeck 8 (Kickbush 5, Holman 2, Smoldt). Total Fouls-West Central 22, Gladbrook-Reinbeck 11. Fouled Out-Niemann.


Iowa Boys High School State Basketball Tournament

At Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines

Quarterfinal Pairings


Monday, March 9

Gladbrook-Reinbeck (25-0) vs. Nodaway Valley (19-6), 10:30 a.m.

Belle Plaine (24-1) vs. Earlham (23-2), 12:15 p.m.

Maple Valley-Anthon-Oto (24-1) vs. South O'Brien (22-3), 2 p.m.

Danville (25-0) vs. West Hancock (22-4), 3:45 p.m.


Monday, March 9

Forest City (23-2) vs. Treynor (21-3), 6:35 p.m.

Aplington-Parkersburg (24-1) vs. Woodward Academy (16-7), 8:15 p.m.

Tuesday, March 10

Cascade (22-2) vs. Iowa City Regina (20-4), 10:30 a.m.

Western Christian (22-2) vs. Pella Christian (16-7), 12:15 p.m.

"He was dominating for their team scoring and we knew that he'd get his," G-R coach Scott Kiburis said of Steinbronn. "We talked about how we wanted to play him but if they just throw it up to him and he turns and scores, there's not much we can do other than foul him, and we didn't want to foul him."

After shooting 4-of-16 in the first quarter, the Rebels ripped off 22 of the next 24 points in the second to grab a 30-14 cushion with 2:13 left in the half. Things opened up in no small part because Steinbronn was careful not to pick up his third foul once he returned. And that eventually opened up opportunities outside as well.

"Starting that second quarter, he was a little more apprehensive at going after our shots and we were able to get the ball moving a little bit," Kiburis said. "Camden Kickbush came through and hit a couple shots, Joe hit one and Zach took it to the glass and took it right at the big guy. We were able to get that cushion in the second quarter that made us a little more comfortable."

Cameron Clark opened the flurry with a three-point play, Pierce drove directly into Steinbronn for another basket and Smoldt and Kickbush followed with back-to-back treys to extend the gap to 21-14. Luke Holman, who finished with 10 points, added another trey and Colton Dinsdale scored a second-chance bucket before turning a steal into a layup as the Rebels built their lead to 35-19 at intermission.

Steinbronn fueled a 10-2 run for the Blue Devils in the third, beginning with a 3-pointer, before Dustin Gordon added another. Steinbronn, an Upper Iowa University commit, added a putback and knocked down another basket inside to whittle the deficit to 39-29 only 3 1/2 minutes into the period.

Holman turned an air-ball into a perfect pass for a putback, and followed another Dinsdale steal-and-layup with his second triple to reestablish a 46-29 cushion. West Central never got closer than 15 the rest of the way as G-R began to burn some clock midway through the fourth.

Prone to fast starts, the Rebels stumbled a bit out of the gates as three travel calls and some cold-shooting paired with Steinbronn's dominance inside helped the Blue Devils seize the momentum early. West Central utilized an extended 1-2-2 zone to slow the pace, but things quickly changed once Steinbronn, who finished with a game-high 24 points, was forced to the bench with two quick fouls.

"We started very strong and stuck to our game plan," Blue Devils coach Darin Lockard said. "In the second quarter we got a little mixed up defensively and left some shooters open. We didn't crash the boards quite as hard as we needed to, they got quite a few second-chance opportunities in the second quarter that really hurt us when they went on their run there."

Joe Wolfe added 10 points for West Central.

G-R had come close to breaking through with a state berth the last few years before punching their ticket decisively Saturday.

"It's huge, we've tried in substate three times and we finally got it right," Pierce said. "It's big for the school being the first team to ever go down to state so we're excited."

"It was hard adjusting to their size right away but we made some adjustments and we knew who their players were and we got it done."

Kickbush missed the first half of the season while recovering from a collar bone injury sustained in the Class 1A state football semifinals in November but quickly got back up to speed. He was the center of the Rebels' attack Saturday as G-R fulfilled a season-long goal by rolling through its three postseason opponents by an average of more than 28 points while allowing just 47.3 per contest.

"We knew coming into the season we were going to be an offensive team," Kickbush said. "We just need to play even better defense and that's really what wins the game. That's what we're doing now."


The winner of Monday's quarterfinal meets either Belle Plaine (24-1) or eight-ranked Earlham (23-2) in a semifinal game March 12 at 10:30 a.m. ... Reinbeck finished fourth at the state tournament in 1929 in the two towns' only other boys state basketball appearance. ... Steinbronn is the first Iowa prep ever to reach 1,500 points, 1,000 rebounds and 400 blocked shots in a career. West Central's all-time leading scorer entered Saturday averaging 22.3 points per game and leads Class 1A with 13.6 rebounds and 4.8 blocks per outing. The Blue Devils lost to Jesup - G-R's district final foe - 57-46 in Jesup on Feb. 9. Their other losses include Janesville and Crestwood. ... West Central last reached the state tournament with back-to-back trips in 1995 and 1996.



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