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Rebels rally past Jesup in second half

G-R junior Joe Smoldt scores career-high 35 points in win

March 13, 2016

DES MOINES - It was a tale of two halves for the Gladbrook-Reinbeck boys' basketball team, as it was able to bounce back from a four-point deficit at halftime and claim a 67-48 victory against No. 6-seed Jesup in the Class 1A quarterfinals Monday.

Junior Joe Smoldt went off in the second half, scoring 27 second-half points on his way to a career-high 35 points in the Rebels' (24-2) win. Tyler Eiffler had 11 points off the bench and Josh Cooley had 10 points to round out the Rebels' double-digit scorers.

After shooting just 36 percent from the floor in the first half, the Rebels' rebounded to a 47.8 percent mark to put the J-Hawks (22-4) away.

Article Photos

Gladbrook-Reinbeck junior guard Joe Smoldt (20) rises up to release a 3-pointer over Jesup defenders Drew Schmit (2) and Kyle DeBerg during the third quarter of Monday’s Class 1A state boys basketball quarterfinal game at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. Smoldt scored a career-high 35 points to lead the sixth-ranked Rebels past No. 8 Jesup 67-48.
Photo by Ross Thede

But it was Smoldt's second-half performance that had everyone - including some of the leading J-Hawk players - talking after the final buzzer sounded.

"We've never played somebody that good before," said Jesup junior Tyler Lienau. "When he was on fire there in the third quarter, I've never seen anything like that. I didn't know what to do. [Kyle] DeBerg was all over him, and he was a good defender, he just hit it."

Lienau wasn't being dramatic. Nearly every single shot Smoldt made, including all three of his 3-pointers in the third quarter to take the lead, were contested to some level. Smoldt was rarely open, no more than he was in the first half when he went just 3-for-9 from the floor and tallied just eight points.

"It was a big quarter for me, but the shot in the shot in the second quarter going into halftime was big," Smoldt said of his buzzer-beating 3-pointer which cut the Rebels' deficit to four points at halftime. "I wasn't as aggressive in the first half as I wanted to be. But my teammates found me and knew I was hot. Two 3s in transition really got us going."

In the matter of three minutes, the Rebels turned a four-point deficit into an 11-point lead. Transition 3s from Smoldt, a pair of free throws and an authoritative block by senior Colton Dinsdale put the Rebels in the driver's seat from there on out.

Some second-half mojo was able to hoist the Rebels to as much as a 20-point lead late in the fourth quarter.

"Well, I think I did a majority of the talking, but we were just calm," said Gladbrook-Reinbeck head coach Scott Kiburis. "We knew we were going to score more than 21 points in a half. We missed a couple key 3s and some free throws there in the first half. They've been in a lot of big ball games, and they just come back and play. We were calm and composed."

This wasn't the first time the Rebels were down at halftime. Earlier this season, the Rebels trailed Hudson 29-20 at the break. But a 48-29 second half led the Rebels past Hudson, foreshadowing Monday's rally.

"We didn't play poorly in the first half, we just knocked down shots and got back in transition [in the second half]," Smoldt said. "We set the tone there in the [second half] right away, which was huge."

Jesup's Ethan Wyant was the leading scorer for the J-Hawks in the first half, tallying 12 points. But after changing his defensive style, Dinsdale sagged off Wyant in the second half, causing trouble and confusion, and held Wyant to just six late-game points. Wyant had zero points in the third quarter.

The Rebels outscored their opposition 46-23 in the second half, led by Smoldt's offense and Dinsdale's defense. The Rebels turned 11 J-Hawk turnovers into 15 points in the other direction, including a 11-3 run in the third quarter.

Matt Roeding and Tyler Pierce ran the boards for Gladbrook-Reinbeck, grabbing seven rebounds each.

The Rebels are enjoying their victory and their time in the grand city of Des Moines. But they're still aware of the job they have left to do: Defend the Class 1A state title.

"It's going to be awesome. We get to go stay in the hotel and party it up in there a little bit," Eiffler said. "But really, we're focused on the games we've got coming up. It's going to be awesome though."



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