The battling Cherokee Washington High girls took visiting Le Mars to the wall here Jan. 15th, before dropping a tight 53-51 Lakes Conference basketball game.
Lacie Drennan canned four big three-point baskets in the second half to help rally Cherokee from a 22-18 halftime deficit, and a 34-24 deficit entering the fourth quarter. But two big free throws by Cassie Lassen and some solid ball handling against Cherokee's full-court defensive pressure by former Cherokee player Emily Anderson sealed the deal for the relieved Bulldogs and screaming coach Barry Borchers.
Drennan led Cherokee's scoring with 17 points, while Jesselyn Racine worked effectively inside to tally 15. Erica Nicholson scored seven for WHS.
Lasen led all scorers with 25 points, and Jordan Heidebrink added eight.
The difference in the game came at the foul line, where Le Mars sank 17-24, compared to just 7-11 for Cherokee. "They were the more aggressive team on defense and we got whistled with more fouls," said a perplexed Cherokee coach Jeremy Dettmer. "Explain that one to me."
Racine led Cherokee on the boards with 13 rebounds, while Drennan snagged nine, and Alison Husman and Shauna Drefke six each. The WHS girls were plagued with a whopping 31 turnovers, several of those on sloppy passes.
Nicole Hatch led Cherokee in assists with six, and in steals with four. Racine had three steals and Drefke four assists.
"We played hard and kept coming after them," said Dettmer. "I thought we had enough to catch them late in the game, but we came up just a little short. We're improving and the girls are working hard and that's all I can ask."