Cherokee girls wallop ESC
Regional final against Shenendoah Saturday in Denison
The 5th rated Cherokee Washington High girls hosted the East Sac County Raiders Wednesday night in a class 3A regional semi-final game, and the Braves were able to advance to the regional final game with an overwhelming 82-38 victory.
Cherokee started out strong on a 7-0 scoring run, but East Sac was able to find some offense and stick with the Braves, who led 18-13 at the end of the first quarter.
The host team was able to create some separation in the second quarter, outscoring the Raiders 26-15, bringing the haltime score to 44-28 in favor of the Braves.
Cherokee came out of halftime on a mission and went on a 10-0 scoring run and also turned up the defensive pressure, not allowing East Sac a basket for the first three and a half minutes of the third quarter. With their offensive run and defensive prowess, the Braves built up a 68-33 at the end of the third quarter.
Cherokee continued the dominance into the fourth quarter before pulling the regular rotation and going to the bench.
The Braves had another balanced offensive night as five players scored in double-digits. Paityn Hagberg and MaKenna Carver led the way, each scoring 16 points. Payton Slaughter ended with 14 points, Kassidy Pingel added 11 points off the bench, and Olivia Dagel scored 10 points. Linday Williams also contributed nine points.
Pingel, Dagel and Williams each had six rebounds, while Slaughter had nine assists and seven steals.
After the victory Cherokee coach Heath Hagberg said, "Our focus lately has been on defense and I think we really rebounded well on the defensive and offensive end of the floor. "I'm really proud of our kids tonight, from top to bottom we really played a complete game. We wanted a balanced offensive attack tonight and we had to make some adjustments because East Sac really wanted to deny Paityn Hagberg the ball and our kids made those adjustments and we let the flow of the game come to us and we took advantage of their defense."
Cherokee will now play 8th rated Shenandoah this Saturday night at 7 p.m. in Denison for a chance to qualify for the class 3A state basketball tournament.
Coach Hagberg has seen Shenandoah on tape and said, "They like to slow down the game, and they have a really talented point guard and center. They will be well-prepared and we're going to have to play really well on Saturday night to come away with a victory."
Shenendoah has a 21-2 record and is on a 13-game win streak. Cherokee and Shenendoah have played one common opponent in Southeast Valley-Gowrie, with Cherokee beating SE Valley 80-17 in first-round Regionals, and Shenendoah defeating SE Valley 63-35 last Nov. 29 in Shenendoah.