Storm Lake's ability to hit crucial baskets down the stretch, combined with a 20-30 free throw effort and nine three-balls, proved too much for the Cherokee Braves to overcome here Tuesday night in a 71-62 loss.
Cherokee had three players crack double figures, with Brock Dagel and Jakob Hummel scoring 13 apiece, and Seth Mahnke 11. Kristian Freed added nine points to the cause. Hummel, battling foul problems in the second half, and Freed led the Braves in rebounding with eight each, while Mahnke grabbed six, and Dagel five. Hummel also led in assists with six, and Mahnke had four.
Carsen Anderson led Storm Lake's scoring with 15 points, and Ethan Kenkel registered 12. The Tornadoes sank 21-52 field goals for 40 percent, and was 20-30 from the foul line.
"We felt like we did several things good tonight, but not enough things great," said Cherokee coach Bob Lee. "And when we play a team like Storm Lake, we need to do more things great.
"I'm proud of how our guys fought back in the third quarter after we had fallen down by 12 points. Kristian came in and ignited our offense and defense with his hustle and determination, and helped lead us to within one point at the end of the quarter. We had some costly turnovers late in the game and Storm Lake did a nice job of converting on the free throw line when they had to."
The 9-10 Braves play a non-conference toughie tonight at Odebolt-Arthur/Battle Creek-Ida Grove in a weather makeup, and then open Class 2A District Tournament action Monday night at dangerous Orange City Unity Christian.