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Rock ‘em sock ‘em Rebels

Sophomore Joe Smoldt scores 31 points as top-ranked Gladbrook-Reinbeck roughs up Nodaway Valley, 80-57

March 15, 2015
TYLER STRAND - Central Iowa Press , Reinbeck Courier

DES MOINES - The Rebels rarely needed to exhibit their decisive size advantage inside.

Adjusting to the larger confines of Wells Fargo Arena wasn't necessary either.

Gladbrook-Reinbeck's two-headed backcourt attack had everything calmly and confidently under control.

Article Photos

Gladbrook-Reinbeck senior point guard Camden Kickbush (10) drives in for a layup against Nodaway Valley defender Nathan Andrews (33) during the first half of Monday’s Class 1A state quarterfinal basketball game in Des Moines. Kickbush finished with 24 points.
Photo by Ross Thede

Combining for 55 points and shooting 11-of-15 from deep, Joe Smoldt and Cam Kickbush ignited top-ranked Gladbrook-Reinbeck in an 80-57 Class 1A quarterfinal rout over Nodaway Valley Monday at the Iowa Boys State Basketball Tournament.

Smoldt finished 11-of-15 from the field and 6-for-7 beyond the arc to score a game-high 31 points as the Rebels (26-0) looked like seasoned veterans in their state tourney debut. Kickbush buried five of his eight 3-point attempts and shot 8-for-14 overall for 24 points as the Rebels scored the first 12 points, led 41-20 at halftime and were never challenged in their initial test on the big stage.

Colton Dinsdale spearheaded the Rebels' defense in limiting Jackson Lamb, the state's third-leading scorer, to six points on 2-for-13 shooting in the first half. The junior Wolverine finished 7-for-24 from the field with 19 points - six below his season average.

The Rebels advance to face eighth-ranked Earlham (24-2) in Thursday's 10:30 a.m. semifinal. The Cardinals beat Belle Plaine 63-50 in the second quarterfinal.

G-R needed little time to adjust to the bigger backdrop of Wells Fargo Arena as Kickbush drilled a 3 eight seconds in and Smoldt capped a personal nine-point flurry with another triple as the Rebels forced Nodaway Valley (19-7) to burn a timeout barely four minutes in.

The 12-point blitz set the tone, revealing these Rebels were well-deserving of the top seed and weren't just happy to be here. And if there were any concerns about how the Rebels would adjust from their smaller gymnasium in Reinbeck to the vast expanse of Des Moines, Kickbush's fearless dagger quelled them in the opening seconds.

"That was really important, we've had a lot of that this year," G-R coach Scott Kiburis said. "That opening 3 gives us a sigh of relief. Some people talk about the deep shooting in a bigger gym. I didn't think that was much of a big deal but a lot of people were talking about that. He answered that question right off the bat by knocking down that 3 to start the game."

Lamb made 1-of-2 at the line to get the Wolverines on the board at 2:57 but Smoldt connected again from deep and Cameron Clark scored inside as G-R took a 17-3 cushion into the second. Nodaway Valley started 1-of-14 from the field, missing all eight of its 3-point attempts and didn't get closer than 13 the rest of the way.

"They were guarding me tight and I just couldn't get in the flow early and then when I got in the flow it just was too late," Lamb said. "We knew coming into the game that we had to be on to have a chance with the No. 1 team in the state. Being off and scoring three points was pretty tough. We knew they'd start falling but we were just hoping our defense would lock down and they'd cool off and they didn't really cool off so it was hard to comeback."

Continuing to create open looks against the Wolverines' matchup zone, the Rebels' offense didn't miss a beat in the second. Kickbush scored in transition, Smoldt dialed up another trey and Pierce nailed two free throws to extend the margin to 27-7. Nate Venteicher and Lamb hit 3s on back-to-back trips for Nodaway Valley but G-R kept pace with consecutive triples from Kickbush and Smoldt to lead 36-13 with 2:51 left in the half.

G-R's point guard tandem was in step the whole way creating open shots for one another, calmly navigating through the Wolverines' press and finding their teammates inside.

"We work on it in the offseason and in practice," Smoldt said of his chemistry with Kickbush. "We just work on different things that we can do, being creative and getting each other open. We have a lot of confidence in each other. We believe in each other and he's gotten me going since freshman year."

G-R had no trouble solving Nodaway Valley's different defensive looks and made 7-of-11 from deep in the first half. Smoldt scored 18 and Kickbush had 14 as the Rebels led by 21 at intermission with Dinsdale continuing to hassle Lamb each trip down the floor.

"Colt played great defense from the start," Kickbush said. "Just from that defense, it picked us up on offense. That really got us going from the defensive end and that helped us get our run in and knock down shots from there."

The Rebels got their interior offense going in the third as Clark scored eight of his 12 points in the frame and gave G-R its largest lead at 60-26 on a layup with 2:06 left in the quarter. The basket punctuated a 14-2 flurry as Pierce hounded the glass and helped G-R earn a 39-27 advantage on the boards. The senior post finished with 10 rebounds and nine points while Kickbush added six rebounds, five assists and three steals.

G-R led by 30 after the third and coasted through the fourth to earn two more games in their first trip to the Well. The Rebels shot 55 percent from the field and 11-of-22 behind the arc.

Venteicher scored 11 and David Schweitzer added 10 before fouling out. Lamb grabbed 10 rebounds for the Wolverines, who had allowed less than 50 points in each of their previous four games. Nodaway Valley shot 34.5 percent for the game and 8-for-30 from long range.

"They're the real deal, there's no reason why they can't win it all," Wolverines coach Darrell Burmeister said. "They've got inside-outside and they take care of the ball. We didn't force a lot of the turnovers tonight and that's a big part of our system. They got the ball to the middle and they were very patient. We like to get teams to pick it up at a quicker pace but this team is capable of playing at a pretty fast pace and they handled it well today."


Earlham beat Nodaway

Valley 58-51 in Earlham on Jan. 31, outscoring the Wolverines 16-5 in the fourth quarter. Earlham also is making its state tourney debut. The other semifinal pairs No. 2 Danville (26-0) against third-ranked Maple Valley-Anthon-Oto (25-1). The Class 1A state championship is Friday at 6:06 p.m.



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