The win didn't come easy, as the Tigers fought to the bitter end and, as we inexplicably see many times in many games, suddenly sank several desperation three-balls in panic mode down the stretch to keep the outcome in doubt until the final buzzer.
The Braves led most of the way, but just didn't have the killer gene at hand to put the game away when it was there for the taking.
In fact, the game boiled down to a superb athletic move by Curtis Ege to save an errant Cherokee full-court pass in the closing seconds, which he deflected to Jakob Hummel for a bucket that sealed the deal.
Seth Mahnke and Brock Dagel combined to lead the Braves with 19 points apiece, with Mahnke scoring 11 by halftime and nine in the first quarter, and Dagel scoring 13 in the pivotal second half. Jakob Hummel tallied 11, including two big free throws late, and Spindler added nine, including those game-winning free throws when it counted.
Brandt Illg and Jay Monahan led Spencer with 13 points apiece, and Alex Hyde sank two of those desperation three-balls for eight total points off the bench.
Cherokee made 25-61 field goals for 41 percent, and was 24-43 from the free throw line, including 18-26 in the second half. Spencer netted 22-44 shots for 50 percent, and meshed 15-19 free throws.
Spindler and Hummel tallied four assists each, and Mahnke and Hummel led in steals with five apiece. Dagel had three blocked shots.
"We play good basketball in this gym," noted Cherokee coach Bob Lee. "Jake Spindler came through with some big free throws and Seth and Brock led us in scoring. We made seven straight free throws in the fourth quarter with the game on the line. Spindler was 7-8, Hummel 3-4, and Kristian Freed 2-2. Freed also played great defense for his best effort this season."
The 2-2 Braves play at Hull Western Christian Tuesday and Spirit Lake Friday, before the holiday break.