The Braves enjoyed a 14-point lead early in the fourth quarter, but the spunky Warriors stayed the course and hit a couple big shots down the stretch to keep A-A in the game to the end.
Curtis Ege and his energy paced the Braves with 18 points, eight rebounds, and four assists, including several timely baskets to keep Cherokee ahead in the game. Brock Dagel added 17 points, eight rebounds, and a whopping seven blocked shots to lead the Braves on the inside. Jakob Hummel added 11 points, nine rebounds, and two steals, Jake Spindler scored 10, and Seth Mahnke tallied seven points, eight rebounds, and two blocks.
The Warriors sank seven three-pointers in the game, including three late ones that brought the hosts back into it in the final period. A-A was 15-29 from the foul line as the teams combined to shoot 54 free throws.
The winning Braves meshed 23-50 field goals for 46 percent, and made 16-25 free throws.
This was a good win against a tough opponent," said Cherokee coach Bob Lee. "Alta-Aurelia's kids played hard and hit some tough shots. I thought our defense did a nice job most of the night of closing out on shooters, helping on the weak-side when they penetrated, and communicating with each other.
"Jake Spindler and Curtis Ege hit some clutch free throws late in the game, and Kristian Freed had a big play by scooping up a loose ball under their basket to seal the win for us. It was good to see our guys stick together in crucial minutes of this game."
"Our kids played their hearts out, but just fell a little short," said A-A coach Dean Lietz. "Their size bothered us inside but we made a great comeback in the fourth quarter and had the ball with a chance to tie with 25 seconds left. Sooner or later things will change and we'll be the ones making plays at the end to win."
The A-A teams play at Newell-Fonda Tuesday, and host Manson NW Webster Thursday. The Cherokee teams return to Lakes Conference action Tuesday and host Hull Western Christian, and host Spirit Lake Friday.