LE MARS - The hard-working Cherokee Washington High girls, playing without their leading scorer who was out with illness, battled a tough Le Mars team to the finish here on Dec. 4, before dropping a 62-48 Lakes Conference verdict.
The host Bulldogs led 10-8 after the first quarter, and expanded that to 30-24 at halftime, before taking a 41-31 lead into the final eight minutes.
Shelby Dilla led Cherokee's scoring with 12 points, while Erica Nicholson added 10, Jesselyn Racine seven, and Nicole Hatch and Misty Bruhn six apiece. leading scorer Lacie Drennan missed the game due to illness.
The WHS gals meshed 11-22 free throws, while Le Mars sank 15-27. Cassie Lassen led Le Mars with 15 points, while Natalie Miller added 12, and Emily Anderson 10.
Alison Husman paced Cherokee in rebounding with seven, and Racine pulled down six. Husman also led her team in steals with three.
"All things considered (with illness and injuries), we played well," said first-year Cherokee coach Jeremy Dettmer. "We cut the lead to five with two minutes left in the game. At that time, former Cherokee player Emily Anderson hit a three and they made a few free throws and the lead ballooned to 14.
"Shelby and Erica stepped up and played their best games of the season. Alison Husman played a gutty game. She was battling the flu bug and still managed to pull down seven rebounds.
"I'm starting to feel like all the pieces are coming in to place. Once we get everyone healthy and ready, we should be able to make a run and win some games."