Trailing by 6-8 points much of the way, the Braves fought back in the fourth quarter to take a 61-60 lead with about 2:30 left to play, before the Tornadoes sustained with a couple big three-balls and appropriate foul shooting down the stretch.
With key players absent early in the season for various injuries and disciplinary reasons, the Tornadoes have regrouped and their full squad is deep and talented, as the Braves found out here Friday.
Carson Anderson led Storm Lake's scoring with 21 points, including two big three-balls when the Braves were making their run at the end of the fourth quarter. Pel Deng tallied 13 points, and Trey O'Brien 10.
The Braves sank 26-72 field goals for 36 percent, and finished 1-6 from the three-point line. Cherokee netted 19-29 free throws, and Storm Lake was 9-21 from the line.
Dagel led the Braves on the boards with 12 rebounds, and Ege grabbed eight and Mahnke six.
The teams were knotted at 15 apiece after the first quarter and the Tornadoes led 40-33 at halftime after Aaron Krier hit a half-court three-ball at the buzzer in the game that would boil down to a one possession affair. Storm Lake led 56-48 heading into the final eight minutes.
"We competed until the end," said Cherokee coach Bob Lee. "We played with pride and I'm proud of the guys. Storm Lake is a good team with all their players active.
"We really worked hard in the fourth quarter and tried to get the ball to Brock in the low post even though they were triple-teaming him. Then he made some nice assist passes. Brock also did a good job on defense shutting off their baseline offense. We had three consecutive good looks at the basket inside late and turnovers cost us the points. You can't afford to do that against a good team on the road."
The 4-6 Braves travel to Emmetsburg Tuesday, at Alta-Aurelia in Alta Thursday, and host Spencer here Friday.