Stage Is Set For Match-Up Of Top-Ranked High School Basketball Teams
It's rare that two No. 1-ranked high school basketball teams get to play each other on the court, but that match-up is happening tonight when Aplington-Parkersburg travels to Gladbrook-Reinbeck.
This evening's marquee game features two of the seven remaining unbeaten teams (all classes) in the state of Iowa.
The Falcons and Rebels are long-time members of the North Iowa Cedar League (NICL), but meet only occasionally because they are on opposite sides of the conference alignment. Aplington-Parkersburg won the NICL's East Division title this season, while Gladbrook-Reinbeck won the West Division crown.
Gladbrook-Reinbeck (20-0) has been the top-ranked team in Class-1A in the Associated Press poll for four-straight weeks, while Aplington-Parkersburg (20-0) moved to the top of the survey in Class-2A three weeks ago.
Tonight's game features two of the highest-scoring teams in Iowa (all classes). Gladbrook-Reinbeck is currently fifth in the state in scoring, averaging 73.5 points per game. The Falcons are seventh in the same category, averaging 72.9 points. Each team is averaging 25-point wins.
Gladbrook-Reinbeck's starting five features three seniors, a junior and a sophomore. Four players are averaging double-figures for the Rebels, led by sophomore Joe Smoldt's 18.2 points per game. Senior Zach Pierce is the top rebounder, averaging 7.6 per game.
Senior Camden Kickbush is a perimeter threat, shooting nearly 44-percent from behind the three-point arc. He missed the first six games of the season, recovering from a shoulder injury he suffered in the semifinals of the state football playoffs in November.
Aplington-Parkersburg's line-up includes three seniors and two juniors. Senior Ross Cooper is the Falcons' top player statistically. He leads three double-digit scorers, averaging 15.4 points per game. He's also shooting 41-percent (25 of 61) from three-point range and leads the team with 8.5 rebounds per game.
Tonight's game is part of a basketball doubleheader being played in Reinbeck. The girls game between Aplington-Parkersburg and Gladbrook-Reinbeck is scheduled to tip-off at 6:15 p.m. The boys game will start at approximately 7:45 p.m.
The showdown with Aplington-Parkersburg is the final test for Gladbrook-Reinbeck before the district tournament begins next week. After tonight, the Falcons have one regular-season game remaining. They host Don Bosco Thursday night in Parkersburg.