The Braves started slow and trailed 13-1 in the first quarter before righting the ship and battling back to take a 23-21 halftime lead thanks to a big three-ball at the buzzer by Eric Wilkie, preceded by a sweet post-up bucket by Jake Spindler, and a snazzy three-ball from Zac Smith from the wing right after he missed one from the top of the key.
However, Cherokee could not catch fire this night and the pesky Midgets hung around after benfiting repeatedly from several poor calls by the experienced officials in the second half who had serious trouble determining a charge from a block.
To their credit, the Midgets fed off those discrepancies and stayed the course to outscore the Braves 37-34 in the fateful second half.
Wilkie paced the Braves with 21 points, while Smith added 18, and Spindler 11. Matt Burrell led E-LC with 17 points, and David Hughes totaled nine.
Cherokee sank 22-53 field goals for 42 percent, and cashed in 8-12 free throws. E-LC made 23-53 shots for 43 percent, and was 9-20 from the foul iline.
With the game tied at 52-52, Wilkie was whistled for a charging foul with five seconds left in regulation that forced the game into overtime.
"This was a typical Lakes Conference game that was very physical and all you can ask is that the game be called both ways," noted Cherokee coach Bob Lee. "Our guys played so hard and we came out on the wrong end.
"Lane Peterson and Nathaniel Morgan are blue collar players who worked hard for us inside at both ends of the court. Their effort and energy is without question. We were right there, but circumstances cost us the game."
The 3-12 Braves travel to Le Mars Tuesday, and to Storm Lake Friday.