The aggressive Kleve slithered his way in and around Cherokee defenders for three crucial inside baskets in the closing minutes, including the game winner in the final seconds.
Kleve's buckets negated a superb effort by Cherokee senior guard Jakob Hummel, who led all players with 21 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and three steals.
The Braves positioned themselves for a downfall with a sluggish beginning and trailed 43-32 at halftime, before coming out with fervor in the third period to outscore the Warriors 16-8 and close the gap to 51-48 after three quarters.
However, the Braves play after a timeout with Hummel driving the middle was foiled and Kleve potted the winning basket on the Warriors' final possession. The Braves raced up court with about eight seconds left to play but was denied.
It took a while for the Braves to adjust to the Warriors' punkball tactics, with the three slow-moving officials inexplicably reluctant or disinterested in calling flagrant fouls when they ocurred. On three occasions the Warriors undercut a Cherokee player going in for a lay-up, with guards Hummel and Jake Spindler taking hard spills on their backs at full speed after their legs were cut out under them - the dirtiest play in basketball. On a couple other occasions Warrior players responded to foul calls with angry animation against the official that would warrant immediate technical fouls in every other gym in America. No whistle.
Curtis Ege tallied 14 points and grabbed five rebounds in another stellar performance off the bench for Cherokee, Kristian Freed scored eight points and pocketed seven rebounds, and Seth Mahnke eight points and six boards.
Brock Dagel, Cherokee's 6-7, 250-pound senior post, set up on offense at the top of the key all night and was bottled up by the physical Warriors. He finished with six points and fought foul trouble after being whistled for his third late in the second quarter on a phantom call inside by a trailing perimeter official who unfortunately brought his whistle to the game with him. Dagel scored 25 points and snagged 18 rebounds in the Braves win over Manson NW Webster two nights earlier.
Logan Shine, who went after Ege and had to be held back by teammates after an innocent foul committed by Ege, again escaped any disciplinary action from the Sioux City officials and, along with Kleve, led SB-L with 16 points.
Cherokee netted 23-50 field goals for 46 percent, and was a poor 14-31 from the free throw line.
SB-L sank 24-52 field goals for 46 percent, and was 9-16 from the foul line. The Warriors made 5-10 three-pointers.
"We didn't start the game aggressively enough," said Cherokee coach Bob Lee. "Sergeant Bluff-Luton came out real aggressive and attacked us early with their zone defense. We had a few nonchalant passes that they stole and we had nine first-halt turnovers that put us in a hole.
"We're real proud of the way our guys regrouped after halftime and came out with a lot of focus and intensity the second half. I thought our defense really made a statement in the third quarter by only giving up eight points."
The Braves play at Spencer Friday night, and host Ridge View Saturday night.