Jones scores all Cherokee points in first half
A lethargic start doomed the Cherokee Braves in a non-conference tussle with #1 1A Alta in Cherokee Jan. 19th, the undefeated Cyclones jumping to a 13-4 lead in the first quarter to secure momentum and, ultimately, the game by a 59-48 score.
In fact, the slow-starting Braves stayed on that four-point total for more than eight minutes spanning the first and second periods to allow the Cyclones to take a 30-15 halftime lead.
And if it wasn't for junior guard Tyler Jones, it would have been 30-0 at halftime, as Jones scored all of the Braves' first-half points. Alta put a chaser on Jones in the second half to help deny him the ball, and he finished the game with 17 points, still enough to lead the Braves.
Ironically, Cherokee shot lights out in the game, but just didn't get off enough shots to matter much. They sank 19-33 field goals for 58 percent, compared to Alta's 18-53 for 34 percent, as Alta fired up 20 more shots.
The Cyclones won the game at the foul line with Cherokee whistled for 21 fouls, and Alta 13. The Cyclones made 18-29 free throws, compared to the Braves' 6-15, thanks to some questionable officiating.
Matt Koch and Brock Dagel scored eight points each to go along with Jones's 17, while Aaron Hanson led Alta with 18, and Jordan Hinkeldey added 15.
Cherokee's Kyle Schuck again controlled the boards with 14 rebounds, while Dagel grabbed six and also recorded five blocked shots. Keaton Tuttle had four blocks for Cherokee. Koch led in steals and assists with three each.
"We need to score inside points. That's been our downfall," said Cherokee coach Trent Coombs of his 1-14 club. "That would open up other things. If we didn't have such a slow start, it's a ball game to the end. Everybody was timid for us in the early going until Tyler took over.
"Alta (15-0) plays in-your-face defense and we need the confidence to take it to the hole against that pressure. We didn't do that. We're picking it up and the guys are working hard. We've played a lot of ranked teams but we know we can play with anybody if we can overcome the slow starts."