STORM LAKE - Senior guard Megan Carlson, seeing her first action since breaking her ankle in early volleyball season, returned to Cherokee's basketball team with a vengeance here Friday night, scoring a career-high 24 points to lead Cherokee to a resounding 64-26 victory over winless Storm Lake.
With a continuous clock speeding up much of the second-half action, the hustling Cherokee girls displayed a solid defense and rebounding effort to hold the 0-10 Tornadoes at bay.
Megan Hummel tallied 10 points for the winners, while Kaely Hummel, battling foul trouble throughout, scored seven points, and Ariana Smith proved a force on the inside with seven points and a team-leading nine rebounds. Kaely Hummel was whistled for three fouls in the first half and picked up her fourth early in the third frame to limit her offensive production.
"She opens up the floor for us with her great shooting and ball handling," said Hagberg. "She makes everyone better around her. Once we all get used to playing together again, we'll keep getting better as the season goes on."
Breanna Richter paced the Storm Lake team with 11 points, the only Tornado to break into double figures.
Cherokee drained 23-62 field goals for 37 percent, including 8-15 three-pointers, and cashed in 8-10 free throws. Storm Lake made 5-14 free throws.
Jasey Stowater and Alexia Gerdes grabbed seven rebounds each to go along with Smith's nine game-high boards. Megan Hummel paced the tough Cherokee defense with eight steals, while Carlson and Kaely Hummel managed five apiece. The Hummel sisters totaled four assists each to lead that category.
"We missed a lot of close-range shots we have to make," explained Hagberg. "Our full-court press created turnovers when we went on that big second-quarter run, but we missed a lot of lay-ups. We frustrated their ball handlers and outscored them 29-4 in the second quarter."
The busy Cherokee team (2-8) plays non-conference games at Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn tonight and hosts South O'Brien in Cherokee Tuesday night, and treks to Emmetsburg to renew Lakes Conference action Friday night.