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Rebels, Hawks set for top-10 rematch

January 22, 2017
Reinbeck Courier

REINBECK - There's no rest for the wicked, and that's just what two of the state's best boys' basketball teams will have to endure when they meet up in Reinbeck January 17.

Class 1A No. 3 Gladbrook-Reinbeck will host Class 2A No. 10 South Hamilton in a clash of high-octane players, competing for player of the year honors.

For the Rebels (8-1), they'll try to make it a total Smoldt show with senior Joe Smoldt seeking to follow up from a brilliant performance against 2A No. 9 Jesup.

Smoldt went for a career-high 42 points in a 65-61 loss to Jesup on Saturday. Last year, when the Rebels travelled to South Hamilton, Smoldt posted 31 points in a 77-71 win. He had eight rebounds and shot 10-for-14 from the floor, including 4-for-5 from the arc. He also added six assists to his line, showcasing why he'll be an imminent threat on the hardwood tonight.

The Hawks (9-1) will counter with senior Collin Hill. Last year against G-R, Hill went for 27 points, going 10-of-16 from the floor and using his size to out-muscle the Rebels wherever he could.

Hill pulled down nine rebounds and was helped by now-junior Marco Balderas' 10 assists in the loss.

Both teams are coming off losses, with South Hamilton falling by a single point (55-54) to Gilbert on the road. A loss for the Hawks would make it the first time they've lost back-to-back games since Jan. 15, 2016, after losing to PCM on the road and then G-R at home.

For the Rebels, the back-to-back loss stat isn't as far as the Hawks. It'll be the first time they've lost consecutive games since dropping the final pair in the Class 1A state tournament in March of 2016 (South O'Brien and West Hancock).

This year, both teams will tout their star players from the previous matchup. Smoldt is averaging 30.4 points per game, while donning a 55.6 field-goal percentage. He's made half of the 3-pointers he's attempted (35-of-70) and has a team-high 49 assists. He leads the Rebels in steals with 30 and is just 13 rebounds shy of leading his team in that category as well, with 42 boards (Matt Roeding, 55 rebounds).

For the Hawks, Hill is surrounded by quite the team of role players. He himself has scored a team-best 21.5 points per game. He leads the Hawks with a 50 percent 3-point percentage, like Smoldt, but has only made 8-of-16. If the Hawks are looking for 3-point shooting, they'll seek out Conner Hill or Marco Balderas, who have made 21 and 13 3-pointers, respectively.

Balderas also leads the team with 56 assists, but not far behind him is Conner with 42. Collin leads the way with 79 rebounds and 23 steals, while Balderas and Conner had 21 apiece.



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