The gritty Cherokee Washington High girls basketball team rang up a 17-5 lead early in the second quarter against rated Spirit Lake here Tuesday night before the talented and deep Indians went on a 22-6 scoring run in that second frame to grab a 31-26 halftime lead on the way to a hard-fought 57-42 Lakes Conference victory.
Freshman Kaely Hummel led the scoring for Cherokee from her point guard position, tallying 17 points, while Ariana Smith played a career best game, scoring nine points and raking down eight rebounds. Alexia Gerdes also yanked eight rebounds for the home team.
The Indians' stout defense kept Cherokee scoring leader and lone senior Megan Hummel on a tight leash as she finished with six points, but grabbed a whopping 14 rebounds with great hustle at both ends of the court.
Alissa Christoffer paced the Indians with 20 points, including five three-pointers, and all-stater KJ Veldman tasllied 14 points after scoring just two at halftime.
The WHS lasses made 16-56 field goals for a chilly 29 percent and committed 29 costly turnovers, many of those ill-timed passes.
"I thought we started the game with good intensity and made some good choices on the offensive end leading us to a 14-5 advantage after the first quarter," said Cherokee coach Heath Hagberg. "During the second quarter we made some poor choices against their press allowing them to convert some easy baskets. "We opened the second half shooting the ball poorly going 1/16 from the field with some of those opportunities being very near the basket. That poor shooting made the rest of the half an uphill climb.
"We need to value the basketball more on the offensive end and maintain defensive intensity for the entire 32 minutes."
The WHS girls travel to #4 Estherville-LC Friday night, and to East Sac County Monday night for a non-conference match-up.