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In the annals of girls high school basketball in America, no one has ever seen a game like the one that unfolded in tiny Reinbeck, Iowa, on Monday night. Just consider these final stats from Gladbrook-Reinbeck (Iowa) High's narrow victory against visiting West Marshall (Iowa) High:
Six quarters, 240 total points.
Gladbrook-Reinbeck and West Marshall set the mark in double overtime, with Gladbrook-Reinbeck winning 122-118.
According to the Marshalltown Times-Republican and Associated Press, that point total was enough to set a new national scoring record for a girls basketball game, smashing the previous record of 222 points from a 2004 game in Mississippi.
"It was the most unusual five-on-five game I've ever heard of," West Marshall head coach Fred Zeller told the Marshalltown Times-Republican. "I thought our kids handled it top-to-bottom about as good as anybody could, [Gladbrook-Reinbeck's] kids too. It was a classic, that's for sure."
While her team came up on the short end of the final score, West Marshall's Hailee Halverson led both teams in scoring, dropping in 36 points and grabbing 18 rebounds for a truly incredible girls basketball double-double. Gladbrook-Reinbeck responded with an impressively balanced attack, boasting five players with at least 16 points.
At the end of the night, however, all individual statistics were dwarfed in significance by the sheer magnitude of having two girls basketball teams battle out a game with 100 points for each side. The two teams finished regulation tied at 100, meaning they each averaged more than three points per minute for the first four quarters.
Yet 100 points is hardly a watershed total for Gladbrook-Reinbeck, thanks to the program's adoption of "The System," a strategic approach popularized by Paul Westhead's Loyola Marymount squad and, some argue, perfected by Division III's Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa, near Rinebeck.
The system encourages players to take 3-pointers on fast breaks, swaps five-player units in and out of games in hockey-style shifts, and looks to score as rapidly as humanly possible, all while scrambling for turnovers with a frantic, full-court pressing defense. It's famed for wearing out opponents, eventually leading to loads of easy buckets and ludicrously high scores as game's wear on.
On Monday, Gladbrook-Reinbeck's system met its mach in West Marshall, which was just as happy to take easy shots as G-R was.
"Wow, that was a lot of fun," Glenbrook-Rinebook coach Brian Bailey told the Times-Republican. "West Marshall played our game, they can go up and down the floor just like we do, they've got good athletes. It turned into a running game which we want, it gives us a chance.
"[The combined points were] amazing. I think that's a big plus for girls basketball in Iowa. That'll bring a little recognition to the state just like that Bondurant-Farrar shot the other night. It's just a neat thing for girls basketball. I've never been in a game like that."