Trailing by five points with less than a minute to play, the Braves refused to lose here Friday, limiting the Tornadoes to just three points in the final six minutes of regulation, and then outscoring Storm Lake 15-4 in overtime to race away to the crucial conference win.
Cherokee started the game on fire and vaulted to an 18-9 lead after the first quarter, but Storm Lake battled back with inside scoring from JB Tut and Pel Deng to go on an 18-5 scoring run in the second quarter to grab a 27-23 halftime lead.
But, not to be denied, the Braves answered back with a 16-10 scoring run in the last quarter to force the overtime period.
Fueling that furious comeback were timely baskets by Brock Dagel, Matt Pitts, and Seth Mahnke.
Dagel led Cherokee with 19 points, followed by Mahnke 16, Kyle Schuck 12, and Pitts eight.
Tut led Storm Lake with 13 points. and Deng added nine.
Schuck, the Lakes Conference leader in rebounding, led the Braves on the board with 14 rebounds for another superb double-double performance. Cody Ege grabbed six rebounds, and Pitts five. Dagel also recorded five blocked shots in the game.
Cherokee made 24-43 field goals for a sizzling 56 percent, and was 6-12 from three-point land. The Braves netted 10-23 free throws.
Storm Lake was 20-42 from the field for 48 percent, and cashed in 10-19 free throws.
Ege led the winners in assists with four, and in steals with four. Mahnke and PItts also had three assists each.
"Did we keep things exciting enough for you?" joked Cherokee coach Bob Lee. "Storm Lake played well. They have some athletes. But our defense stepped up in the fourth quarter and shut them down. That made the difference. We were down five with less than a minute to play and our defense rose to the occasion.
"We got off to a nice start, but we had too much emotion in the first quarter to avenge that loss at their place, and they came back in the second quarter. It's a credit to the maturity of our guys to come back late and win this game."
Cherokee hosts Emmetsburg Tuesday, travels to Spencer Friday, and hosts Alta Saturday.