SIOUX CITY - Playing without two key starters, the Cherokee Braves were no match for Sioux City East here on Jan. 3rd, losing 60-41 in a boys basketball game scheduled just a few days before.
The game was booked after both teams experienced a couple postponements due to inclement weather just prior to the Christmas Holiday break.
The Black Raiders jumped to an 18-5 lead after the first quarter and then rode that wave to victory despite Cherokee outscoring the Class 4A hosts 19-10 in the final period.
The Braves also were victimized by foul trouble, with three players - Brock Dagel, Nick Parker, and Matt Koch - whistled three times each in the first half, forcing them to the bench much of the second half. They all received their fourth foul in the middle of the third quarter, and Dagel and Parker fouled out in the final frame.
East sank 12-28 free throws, compared to just 3-8 for Cherokee to exacerbate the situation. Cherokee netted 16-53 field goals for a chilly 30 percent, including 6-19 three-pointers.
Dagel led the Cherokee scoring with 10 points, while Koch tallied nine, Matt Pitts eight, and Parker seven. Taylor Pollow led East with 19, and Jordan Gentry added 14.
Parker led the Braves in rebounds with five, and Dagel and Kyle Schuck snagged four apiece. Koch led in assists with four, and Seth Mahnke had three, as the Braves played without the services of senior guard Tyler Jones (injury), and junior guard Cody Ege (illness).
East led 35-14 at halftime, and 50-22 heading into the fourth period.
"We played pretty good except for an eight-minute stretch late in the first quarter, and early into the second quarter," said first-year Cherokee coach Bart Smith. "We let them score some easy field goals then and we lost the momentum.
"We got good looks all game and didn't take advantage of the scoring opportunities, especially in the first half. That slow start also made it a steep hill to climb. We need a good first quarter to get off on the right foot and we didn't have that today."