The Cherokee Washington High girls basketball team took on two tough, traditional powers to begin their 2007-2008 season, facing Sioux City Heelan on the road Saturday, and hosting Hull Western Christian Monday night.
The results weren't too rosy for the battling WHS team, which dropped a decisive 85-41 verdict to Heelan, and a hard-fought 68-55 decision to the Wolfpack.
Jesselyn Racine led Cherokee against Heelan with 14 points, while Lacie Drennan and Shauna Drefke added seven apiece, and Nicole Hatch tallied five points.
Heelan jumped to a 21-9 lead in the first quarter, and led 44-20 at halftime, before a meager six-point output by Cherokee in the third frame did the deed.
All-stater Michelle Lund, a Division 1 recruit headed to Bradley University, led the Crusaders with 25 points. The winners gleaned 23 points off 35 Cherokee turnovers in the game as the full-court pressure bothered the WHS gals time and again.
Cherokee sank 16-41 field goals for 39 percent, while Heelan made 36-67 for a sizzling 54 percent. WHS was 7-10 from the free throw line, and Heelan finished 7-9.
Hatch led her team in assists with six, and Racine led on the boards with five rebounds. Drennan had two steals.
Racine totaled 16 points to lead Cherokee in the loss to towering HWC, followed by Drennan with 12, and Alison Husman nine. Husman was absent for the Heelan game.
Brandee Schaap led the Wolfpack scoring with 17 points, while Kate Buyert added 12, and Teunissen 11.
HWC led 13-12 after the first quarter and then went on a scoring tear to take a 36-22 halftime lead as first-year Cherokee coach Jeremy Dettmer substituted freely, often in a platoon system.
Cherokee made 16-27 free throws, compared to a 12-17 effort by the Wolfpack. HWC was whistled for 21 team fouls, and Cherokee 17. The WHS girls notched 19-49 field goals for 39 percent.
Hatch and Drefke led their team with three assists each, with Hatch also leading in steals with four. Drennan had eight rebounds, and Racine six to lead in that category.
The Cherokee girls and boys teams play at Emmetsburg Friday night, at Sergeant Bluff-Luton Saturday, and at Le Mars on Tuesday.