Megan Carlson cashed in 6-7 free throws in the fourth quarter, and Katie Sambrano and Megan Hummel also hit crunch-time free throws to lead the Washington High gals to the win down the stretch.
Hummel led Cherokee's scoring with 16, followed by Carlson 13, and Sambrano 11. Emily Anderson paced the Le Mars girls with 15 points.
Cherokee notched a 14-9 lead in the first quarter, and led 26-20 at halftime, before entering the final frame knotted at 36-36. The winners then outscored the Bulldogs 17-14 in the tight fourth quarter to claim the win and avenge a loss earlier in the season in Cherokee.
Cherokee missed a whopping 21 free throws in the game, despite making 11-17 in the fourth quarter, keyed by Carlson's 6-7 effort in the final eight minutes. Cherokee made 17-38 free throws, and netted 26-43 field goals for a sizzling 60 percent, including a 4-17 effort from the three-point line. Le Mars made 10-16 free throws.
Shanon Shaefer paced Cherokee in rebounding with 11, while Jackie Wilson grabbed nine, and Hummel six. Sambrano led Cherokee in steals with five, and Carlson and Hummel pocketed three each.
"We did a nice job getting the ball to our free throw shooters down the stretch," said Cherokee coach Heath Hagberg. "We knew we could compete with Le Mars and the girls did a nice job and gave 110 percent.
"We had some late turnovers and struggled down the stretch with mental mistakes. We need to rebound better, but we fought through all that and got the win. I'm proud of our team."
The Cherokee girls host Storm Lake Tuesday night to end regular season, and travel to #1 ranked and undefeated Odebolt-Arthur/Battle Creek-Ida Grove Saturday night for first-round Class 2A Regional Tournament action.