PAULLINA - South O'Brien led at all the breaks while claiming a 63-56 Class 2A District basketball victory over the Cherokee Braves here Tuesday night.
The loss ends the season for the 12-8 Braves, while the Wolverines proceed down tourney trail with a sparkling 18-4 mark.
The Braves were led by Cody Ege's 18 points, followed by Brock Dagel 12, Matt Pitts nine, and Kyle Schuck nine. Schuck led Cherokee in rebounds with 11, Dagel snared eight, and Pitts three. Ege led his team in assists with six, and also registered three steals. Dagel blocked three shots.
The Braves sank 23-53 field goals for 43 percent, including 3-8 threeballs. They meshed 7-11 free throws.
South O'Brien netted 17-42 field goals for 40 percent, including 7-13 from the three-point arc, and had a distinct free throw advantage in the game, making 22-25, attempting 14 more than Cherokee in the fast-paced game.
SOS led 13-7 after the first quarter, and 31-24 at halftime, before taking a 41-26 lead into the final frame.
Syndergaard led SOS on the boards with nine rebounds, and Brasser tallied eight, and Beau Lange grabbed five. Paulsen ked the winners in assists with four, and Syndergaard had four steals.
"We didn't match South O'Brien's intensity in the first couple minutes of the game and they were able to build a quick nine-point lead," said Cherokee first-year coach Bob Lee. "Our guys stepped up their game and closed the gap many times, but unfortunately for us, every time we cut the lead to two points they would hit a big three.
"We are very proud of our guys this season. They finish with a respectable 12-8, had several very close games with some very good teams, and finished in third place in the Lakes Conference.
"We will really miss our seniors. They are a big group (10) and a real good group of guys. All ten of them are responsible for the success we have had this year, and we wish them the best of luck in their future."
Ege leaves as the school's all-time leader in steals with 178, and Schuck leaves as the second all-time rebounder with 581 (Steve Mahnke is first with 603).