SERGEANT BLUFF - The host Sergeant Bluff-Luton Warriors outscored the Cherokee Braves 33-23 in the second half on the way to a decisive 59-48 boys basketball non-conference season opener here Tuesday night.
After SB-L nurtured a 14-8 lead after the first quarter, the Braves fought back to trail just by one point at 26-25 at halftime, before the Warriors outdistanced Cherokee in the final two quarters.
Senior guard Jake Spindler led the Braves in scoring with 20 points, while Eric Wilkie tallied 10, Stetson Dagel six, and Zac Smith five. Dagel and Smith battled foul trouble throughout after getting whistled for two quick fouls apiece in the early going.
Cole Croston paced SB-L in scoring with 22 points, and Nate Glisar totaled 12.
Cherokee sank just 13-45 field goals in the game for a frigid 20 percent, including a 6-21 effort from three-point range. The Braves netted 16-31 free throws.
The Warriors made 24-50 field goals for 48 percent, including 0-10 from the three-point arc, and managed 11-24 shooting from the foul line. SB-L controlled the boards 43-28.
Dagel and Smith, Cherokee's inside presence, pocketed six rebounds apiece, and Wilkie led his team in assists with six, and tallied three steals.
"Our inexperience showed a little tonight," said Cherokee coach Bob Lee. "We had 20 turnovers as a team, which is way higher that what we hope for. But it was good to see our guys bounce back from the mistakes, and settle into a comfort zone on the floor as the game progressed.
"Jake Spindler played a great game for us offensively, shot the ball well, stretched the defense, and was a leader to the team. We are real proud of our guy's effort tonight. They worked hard and never gave up. If we continue to get effort like this, we feel that good things will happen for this team."