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Cougars rebound in fine form No. 6 AGWSR follows first loss by routing G-R

January 8, 2017
Stephen Koenigsfeld - Central Iowa Press , Reinbeck Courier

REINBECK - Just 24 hours prior to the Cougars' 73-36 win against Gladbrook-Reinbeck on Tuesday night, the players were a little down in the dumps.

A 56-50 loss to Janesville on the road halted the perfect season, as Class 1A No. 6 AGWSR was handed its first loss. But a rebound win was exactly what the doctor ordered to mend the Cougars (7-1, 4-0 NICL West) back to full strength.

"After last night, we had a tough battle over there at Janesville," said AGWSR head coach Laurie Gann. "It was nice to be able to come over here and get the sting out quick and get back on the floor tonight. It was good to get kids playing who don't get a lot of playing time and see what they can do."

Maddie Brandt went for 22 points, outlasting the Rebels (0-8, 0-5 NICL West) in nearly every facet of the game. Mandy Willems helped out with 11 more points and Aubrie Fisher had nine.

Taylor Gienger had 20 points to help the Rebels' efforts. Head coach Bruce Bailey said it was most likely a career-high for the sophomore, most definitely a season-best.

"She's got a lot of upsides," Bailey said. "She can be a scorer. She can be an assist person. She can be a good rebounder for a little guard if you let her in there. So she's just maturing in every aspect of the game. We need to her to do a little jump shooting rather than floating, which she likes to do, but that's something we'll work on every day."

The Rebels struggled to hang around much out of the first half of the first quarter. G-R was faced with an early deficit of 43-16 at halftime. Turnovers and poor shot selection hindered Rebel shooters, but Bailey said that will most likely be expected this year.

The season has been a trying one, but Bailey said that's all part of this year's process. While wins and losses might not directly show the progress being made with the Rebels, he said his team has come a long way from the beginning of the season.

G-R scored the most points it has all season (36) against the No. 6 team in the state. While a sluggish start after a long winter break might have had some effect on the two teams, Bailey remains steadfast in the direction of the G-R girls' basketball program.

On the other side of the court, Brandt, a senior this year, continues to be a threat all over the court.

Gann said the biggest development in their star player hasn't been in the stat sheets, though.

"She's grown most in the fact she's our leader vocally," Gann said. "She's the leader in practice; the coach on the floor and the coach behind the scenes. That kind of leadership we lacked a year ago because we didn't have a lot of seniors, so she's done a tremendous job doing that this year."

The Cougars stepped on the gas early and never let up, posting 22 and 21-point quarters in the first half, followed by back-to-back 15-point quarters in the second half, playing with their bench players. Gann said she was happy to get some of the bench players in for nearly a whole half because "they're the ones making our first team better every day."

The Rebels will take on Vinton-Shellsburg at home on Thursday, while the Cougars face 3A No. 10 West Marshall on Friday in a NICL West showdown. Both games are scheduled to tip at 6:15 p.m.



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