The major woe for Cherokee was an inability to corral solid lefty post player Amanda Bush, who had her way inside with a game-high 26 points, including several uncontested lay-ups on timely passing by the fast-paced Cougars. Blair Schoon added eight points for the winners.
Cherokee, working hard all night and pushing the ball up court throughout, was led in scoring by Shanon Shaefer's 13 points, Katie Sambrano 11, and Jackie Wilson 10.
The host Cougars dominated the boards with Bush leading the way with a dozen. Megan HUmmel led Cherokee's rebounding effort with five, while Taylor Woods, Sambrano, and Megan Carlson each grabbed three.
Shaefer led her team in assists with four, and Sambrano and Carlson tallied three apiece. Shaefer also led in steals with four, and Carlson had three.
Manson NW Webster took that 21-10 first-quarter lead to 43-21 at halftime. In the third quarter, Cherokee crawled back in it after a flurry of points by Shaefer and Wilson cut the lead to 46-31, but the Cougars and Bush continued to rally the host team, barely outscoring the WHS lasses 35-33 in the second half.
"We played a sluggish first half and found ourselves down at half, and then played a much more focused second half," said Cherokee first-year varsity coach Heath Hagberg. "We played them pretty even in the second half.
"It's nice to get our first game under our belts to identify areas that are strengths and areas we need to make improvements in."
Cherokee hosts Emmetsburg tonught and travels to Spencer Friday night.