Dilla, Messerole combine for 39 points
After four no-nos, in which the Cherokee Washington High girls basketball team failed to put two solid halves together, the light came on here Friday night against a pesky Le Mars club, leading to an exciting 52-49 victory for the home team.
A combination of a one-two scoring punch by Kylie Dilla outside and Kayla Messerole inside continued to pay vast dividends for Cherokee, but it was the overall play at both ends of the court by a hustling band of players that brought WHS the win.
Dilla, an Energizer Bunny if there ever was one, again led the way with 21 game-high points, while Messerole, working hard inside and hustling at all times, popped in 18. Lacie Drennan, in her best effort to date this season, added seven points, along with some superb ball-handling and defense that helped the WHS club through the rough spots throughout.
Four-year starter Kendra Collins led Le Mars with 14 points, but had 10 of those in the first half. Credit Dilla's outstanding defense throughout for shutting down the Bu8lldogs' main threat. Cassie Lassen added 12 points and Kayla Clarey 10 for the visitors.
Cherokee sank 15-39 field goals in the game for 38 percent, while Le Mars made 22-47 for a warm 47 percent. Cherokee was 1-4 from the three-point arc, and Le Mars 0-6.
The big difference in the outcome was Cherokee's 21-35 effort at the free throw line, compared to 5-12 for the Bulldogs. That critical discrepancy exists simply because Le Mars chose to foul whenever Cherokee would beat them on offense.
Dilla also led the winners in assists with four, and, along with Drennan and Lynn Leonard, tallied two steals each. Messerole led in rebounds with 10, while Drennan grabbed six.
The back-and-forth game saw Cherokee lead 12-10 after one quarter, and trail 26-24 at halftime, and 36-33 after three periods, before outscoring the Bulldogs 19-13 in the fateful fourth.
"This was a fun game. We needed it," said Cherokee coach Curt Klaahsen. "The girls played hard and we finally put two halves together. We made some mistakes and had some rough spots, but we're improving and playing harder.
"We also ran the delay game pretty well with the lead in the closing minutes. We haven't had a chance to do that this season and I was proud of the girls for hanging in there. We also got big contributions off the bench. Alison Husman had a big steal for us late in the game, and Kelsey Essick played great defense when she was in there."
Cherokee, now 2-3, travels to Spencer Tuesday night for another tough Lakes encounter against a very good Tiger outfit sporting a 5-0 record.