The Braves rode the backs of Brock Dagel, Jakob Hummel, and Curtis Ege to gain the win in a game they led most of the way but just could not deliver a knock-out blow to the resilient Cougars on their home floor.
The 6-7 Dagel was superb inside all night for Cherokee, finishing with a double-double game-high 25 points, a whopping 18 rebounds, and a school record eight blocked shots. Dagel's domination inside at both ends of the court were immeasurable for the Braves, as their lead stretched between four and nine points much of the way until clean-up time at the end.
Hummel tallied 13 points, seven rebounds, six assists and three steals in an excellent performance in the fast-paced, physical contest. Ege provided a needed spark off the bench for the Braves to finish with 13 points and four boiards in limited minutes. Both Ege and Hummel came through with timely baskets at critical times and their ability to finish shots at the end of a move was most imressive and valuable to the cause.
Flashy guard Brody Eischeid led the Cougars with 18 points, and Kaden Cue, a burly 6-5 senior post, tallied 13 points, sidelined for a time with foul trouble early in the fourth quarter.
Cherokee led 32-24 at halftime after the teams had slugged out a 16-16 tie in the first period. The Braves 16-8 scoring advantage in the second period was punctuated by a sweet inside move and three-point play by Ege to establish the halftime lead.
Cherokee made 26-58 field goals for 45 percent, and cashed in 7-14 free throws. The Braves were just 1-8 from the three-point line. Manson NW Webster sank 21-60 field goals for 35 percentm and hit 4-8 free throws.
"This was a good win to open the season," said Cherokee coach bob Lee. "Manson NW Webster is a solid baskeyball team with a real good player on the inside (Kaden Cue), and several good shooters on the perimeter. I thought our defense did a nice job of challenging the shooters and forcing tempo. We gave up some offensive rebounds early in the game that hurt us, but our guys refocused and really did a nice job of controlling the boards after that.
"Brock Dagel and Jakob Hummel both had outstanding games for us. Curtis Ege came off the bench and really was a spark plug with his hustle and energy."
The Braves host Emmetsburg Tuesday night to open Lakes Conference play, and trek to Spencer Friday night.