LE MARS - The short-handed Cherokee Washington High girls basketball team fell behind 18-4 in the first quarter and couldn't recover on the way to a 56-22 setback to Le Mars here Friday night.
Hustling Emily Haselhoff paced Cherokee scoring with seven points, and Ariana Smith added six.
Emily Ellefson led the Bulldogs with 13 points, followed by Mary Kate Eckstaine with eight, and Carolyn Ahlers with eight.
Cherokee sank just 8-41 field goals for a frigid 20 percent, and cashed in 5-14 free throws.
Le Mars converted 5-12 free throws. The Bulldogs fired up 30 three-balls and made eight.
"They let it fly," said Cherokee coach Heath Hagberg of the Le Mars perimeter offense. "They pass inside and then kick it out and shoot the threes at will."
Alexia Gerdes and Ariana Smith controlled the boards for Cherokee with nine rebounds apiece, while Haselhoff and Jasey Stowater led their team in assists with three each.
"We had kids playing out of position who have never played that position before," noted Hagberg. "In the first half, we were uncomfortable and the scoring shows that. But in the second half, they became more comfortable and we held our own.
"Emily and Kaitlin Kennebeck did a great job handling the ball when they're not used to it. The girls are very coachable, we were just against all odds tonight."
The WHS club played without starters and leading scorers, sisters Megan and Kaely Hummel, who are on a family Christmas vacation. Megan Hummel is the lone active senior on the team, with fellow senior Megan Carlson, also a three-year varsity regular, scheduled to return after the holiday break. She has missed all season with an ankle injury suffered in volleyball.
Cherokee (1-8) returns to action Jan. 4 at Storm Lake in Lakes Conference play.