116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
MANCHESTER - Party like it's 1987, South Winneshiek Warriors.
Thanks to a herculean 14-point fourth quarter from senior Jacob Herold, South Winneshiek (18-6) erased an eight-point deficit and rallied to beat Gladbrook-Reinbeck, 63-57, in Saturday night's Class 1A Substate 3 final at West Delaware.
With the win, South Winn will make its first appearance in the boys' state basketball tournament in 34 years.
'History, that's what it means to us,” Herold said. 'I said that to the guys all week long - we're looking to make history.”
Entering the final eight minutes trailing 49-41, and with key big man Trey Kriener sidelined with four fouls, Herold made clutch basket after clutch basket, scoring 14 of his 29 points in the fourth. The Warriors outscored Gladbrook-Reinbeck 22-8 in the final quarter.
'Jake's been our guy,” South Winn Coach Blake Moen said. 'He has been our guy all year. He can lead us through when we have guys in foul trouble, he can lead us through if guys are unable to play.”
Fourth-quarter comebacks have been the theme throughout the postseason for South Winn.
Earlier in the week, the Warriors came back to defeat defending state champion Wapsie Valley, 61-53, in the district semifinals after trailing in the fourth. South Winn then rallied to beat Edgewood-Colesburg in the district finals, 53-49, thanks to a 16-4 fourth-quarter advantage.
'It seems like we need to be down going into the fourth quarter,” Moen said with a laugh. 'When we get to the fourth quarter is when we really need to buckle it down on closing out on shooters and rebounding. And if we do those things, that's going to open up transition points for us.”
'Our motto all week has been ‘refuse to lose,'” Herold said. 'And that's what we went by as a team, and I took that personally. I don't want to be done playing basketball.”
South Winn held a two-point lead at halftime, 31-29. The Rebels, led by William Kiburis, put together a strong third quarter, outscoring the Warriors 20-10.
Kiburis was the leading scorer for Gladbrook-Reinbeck with 21 points.
Ultimately, the combination of the Warriors' fourth-quarter defense and Herold's leadership proved to be enough for a ticket to the state tournament. South Winn is the No. 8 seed at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines and will face top-ranked North Linn in a quarterfinal game at 10 a.m. Monday, March 8.
'It's always been a lifelong dream of mine to play a basketball game on my birthday (March 9) because the state tournament is always the week of my birthday,” said Herold. 'My dad and I, ever since I started high school, said, ‘wow, what an accomplishment it would be to play a game on my birthday.' And that's what I want to do. It's my senior year.”
This is Moen's fourth year as South Winn's head coach. He's only 27, so he wasn't even around the last time the Warriors made it to state.
'It means a lot, but it's all about the kids,” said Moen. 'They wanted to be here, they played hard, and it means a lot that they got rewarded by getting to play at ‘the Well.'”