With a seasoned blend of seniors and underclassmen clicking on all cylinders, the Cherokee Braves ran roughshod through the Emmetsburg E-Hawks here on Dec. 2, claiming a season-opening 62-27 Lakes Conference victory.
Balanced scoring and an impressive, focused defense carried the Braves this night, as first-year coach Bart Smith looked on with appreciation at his team's effort throughout.
Then, when the Braves outscored Emmetsburg 14-3 in the third quarter, the book was already closed, with Cherokee taking a 47-10 bulge into the final eight minutes.
Cherokee's quality depth at the perimeter paid vast dividends throughout as the Braves dominated the game in all areas. The balanced scoring - a product of teamwork, great passing, and offensive patience, was only overshadowed by Cherokee's intense defensive ferocity.
Hitting some timely threeballs in the first half to help get Cherokee up and away, Tyler Jones added 13 points, Matt Koch nine, Brock Dagel seven, David Cook six, and Matt Pitts five in a pick your poison balanced attack.
Trevor Dettmann led the E-Hawks with 10 points, including all seven of his team's first-half points.
The Braves tallied 24-50 field goals for 48 percent, and knocked down 7-20 threes. The winners were 7-10 from the free throw line, and E-Burg 9-16.
Cody Ege led Cherokee in assists with six, and Schuck led in steals with three. Dagel, Cherokee's 6-7 sophomore post, also grabbed seven rebounds as he and Schuck accounted for half of the Braves' 34 boards.
"It was an all-around good game to start with," said Smith. "The most important thng is for us to continue to get better and be playing our best at the end of the year.
"We played great defense and we've stressed that from Day One. The guys hustled and we had consistent perimeter play that opens up the inside. And we were patient on offense. That leads to taking good shots, balanced scoring, and better shooting percentages."