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Rebels plan to reload for another run

March 20, 2016
ADAM RING - Central Iowa Press , Reinbeck Courier

DES MOINES - The Rebels are looking at the positives, being recognized as the fourth-best team out of 150 or so schools in Class 1A.

Still, after a title run a year ago, finishing fourth in the Class 1A Iowa Boys State Basketball Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena Friday with a 61-56 loss to West Hancock in the consolation game leaves a hunger for the Gladbrook-Reinbeck boys' basketball team to get back to the top of the mountain, where it stood in March 2015.

Fortunately for the Rebels, two straight trips to the state tournament has planted a seed to feed the hunger in the younger players who will be back next season to make a third straight run.

Article Photos

Gladbrook-Reinbeck’s Tyler Pierce (45) puts up a contested shot against West Hancock’s Seth Weiland (13) and Dylan Eckels (22) in the Class 1A State Basketball consolation final Friday morning at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. West Hancock won 61-56.
Photo by Adam Ring

Leading G-R in its quest to get back to the Well will be Joe Smoldt, who will be back to lead the G-R offense in his senior year. Smoldt has increased his average point total per game by seven points every year. As a freshman, Smoldt averaged 11.2 points a game, upped it to 18.0 points a game last year as a sophomore, and averaged 25.3 points a game this season.

"There's nothing that I'm really, really, really good at," Smoldt said. "I have to get better at everything. Just doing anything I can to help my teammates."

Smoldt took 261 more shots this season than the next player. G-R head coach Scott Kiburis said the Rebels were in a situation where the team was fully aware that Smoldt wasn't taking too many shots, but rather that was the situation the team was in, having to go through Smoldt.

"We didn't have a lot of offensive threats," Kiburis said, "but they use what they have by playing defense, and doing things to create opportunities for Joe. They did it with modesty."

With Smoldt operating the guard position, the responsibility of taking care of things inside will be left to Tyler Pierce and Matt Roeding, two players who are currently listed standing at least 6-foot-4. Both players averaged to contribute about seven points a game, but their presence is just as big on the defensive end of the floor. Pierce led the Rebels this season with 162 totals rebounds. Roeding pulled down a total of 135 boards himself this year, to finish second on the team. With Tyler Eiffler, G-R's second leading scorer and third leading rebounder, graduating, it will be up to guys like Pierce and Roeding to increase their numbers in those areas.

"They have to focus," said Rebel senior Colton Dinsdale. "They have to get the younger guys in there in the summer league, getting them going. We're going to have some key sophomore and juniors next year that are going to have to step up big. Joe's a good player. He'll take them on his shoulders, and they'll get wins."

The Rebels also lose Josh Cooley and Dinsdale to graduation. Cooley averaged 7.2 points a game. Dinsdale's numbers didn't always pop out on the stat sheet, but his presence in taking on the responsibility of shutting down the opponent's top perimeter player won't be found in any record book. Kiburis said he wants the players who are returning to adopt Cooley and Dinsdale's approach to the game, taking it seriously, but having a relaxed demeanor about it.

"Everyday practice is so important to them," Kiburis said. "They're focused and they have fun doing it. They're humorous and keep things light, but once they hit the floor, they practice hard. They're great examples of showing up every day, and when things don't get good, just keep playing through it. Be intense."

The Rebels will also look to younger players, such as sophomore Caden Kickbush, who played in all but one game this season and averaged 5.0 points a game, to fill in on the role positions.

"(Kickbush) did some positive things," Kiburis said. "We have a couple other kids in that sophomore class that will help us hopefully get an opportunity at a shot to come back here again."



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