clip art Gladbrook-Reinbeck logo

DES MOINES — At the end, Scott Kiburis could walk away knowing his team finally played the kind of basketball that earned Gladbrook-Reinbeck two straight trips to the state tournament.

“I’m glad — glad for them,” said the Rebels head coach. “That’s the way they do it every day. They compete and they got the game to where it could be a competitive game.”

G-R competed it just didn’t win. The Rebels paid a price for the rally from a 17-point, first-half deficit, and West Hancock’s finishing kick in the fourth quarter bought the Eagles a 61-56 victory in the Class 1A state tournament consolation game at Wells Fargo Arena.

“It takes a toll to come back,” said Kiburis.

Less than 24 hours after South O’Brien beat Gladbook-Reinbeck and ended its hopes for back-to-back titles, the Rebels returned to the court — and promptly got battered on all sides. West Hancock pressed G-R into mistakes, slowed down Joe Smoldt with a hard-nosed 2-3 zone and rode a versatile attack to a lead that peaked at 30-13 with 1:34 left in the first half.

“I don’t know — we didn’t play our style of basketball in the first half. It’s tough,” said Kiburis. “I mean, you’re coming off a state championship last year and a football state championship. Their aspirations were to be playing in a state championship game, so it’s tough for anybody.

“But once we got a feel for the game in the second half, things started going right. One after another (the players) got us back in the game.”

After some halftime words from assistant coach Caleb Sieh (“He got us pumped up,” said Kiburis), G-R roared into the game. When West Hancock went cold, G-R scored the first dozen points of the third quarter. Behind Smoldt and Caden Kickbush off the bench, the Rebels charged into the lead.

“Everybody on this team, not just the starters, everybody fought hard to get us this last win and we really wanted this one,” said Smoldt.

But West Hancock (25-4) fought back. Connor Sonius jump-started the Eagle attack, scoring 14 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter and assisting on a key Nate Paulus 3-pointer. That basket put West Hancock up, 49-48, with 4:29 to go. This time, G-R could not fight back.

Smoldt finished with 19 points before fouling out. He’s one of three starters who will return to the Rebel lineup for 2016-17. Looking ahead, the all-state guard said there’s plenty of room to improve, and he didn’t exempt himself.

“There’s nothing I’m really, really, really good at,” said Smoldt. “I’ve got to get better at everything and just do anything I can to help my teammates.”

W. Hancock 61, Gladbrook-Reinbeck 56

Glad.-Rein. Mn FG-A FT-A Rb As PF TP

Dinsdale 24 1-6 2-2 3 2 1 4

Smoldt 31 7-14 1-2 6 2 5 19

Cooley 21 3-15 1-2 7 2 0 8

Roeding 23 3-5 2-5 8 1 4 8

Pierce 27 2-5 2-3 4 2 0 6

Kickbush 14 2-5 1-1 2 1 1 6

Thede 0+ 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0

Eiffler 14 1-4 0-0 2 2 0 2

Schuman 1 1-1 0-0 1 0 0 3

Skovgard 5 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0

Kelley 0+ 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0

Mussig 0+ 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0

Team 3

Totals 160 20-55 9-15 36 13 11 56

W. Hancock Mn FG-A FT-A Rb As PF TP

Sonius 32 8-15 6-6 6 8 3 24

Paulus 32 5-13 1-2 2 4 1 14

Ruter 20 0-0 0-0 4 0 2 0

S.Weiland 27 2-6 0-0 6 0 4 5

Hartwig 10 2-2 0-0 1 1 2 4

Hunt 0+ 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0

C.Eisenman 0+ 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0

L.Weiland 0+ 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0

Eckels 19 5-9 0-2 6 3 2 11

B.Eisenman 20 1-2 0-0 1 1 0 3

Smith 0+ 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0

Fosdick 0+ 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0

Team 0

Totals 160 23-47 7-10 26 17 14 61

Gladbrook-Reinbeck 7 10 22 17 — 56

West Hancock 16 14 7 24 — 61

3-point goals—G-R 7-26 (Dinsdale 0-3, Smoldt 4-9, Cooley 1-8, Kickbush 1-3, Eiffler 0-2, Schuman 1-1), WH 8-24 (Sonius 2-5, Paulus 3-10, S. Weiland 1-5, Eckels 1-2, B. Eisenman 1-2). Blocks—G-R 0, WH 3 (S. Weiland 3). Steals—G-R 7 (Smoldt 3), WH 12 (Sonius 4).

Officials—Thompson, Walderbach, Hauge.

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Sports reporter for The Courier

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