Defense ruled the first half.
Woodstock (3-17, 0-9) led 8-6 after the first quarter, behind a pair of Chris Mowery baskets. The story was similar in the second quarter as Zack Case accounted for all five of the Wolverines’ points, and neither team scored until halfway through the period.
The second half was a different story as whatever pep talk the Cherokee players received apparently worked.
Coach Roger Kvam said the change was simple.
“We were playing hard,” said Kvam, whose team snapped a four-game losing streak — all in region play. “Woodstock was playing hard. Neither team could score in the first half. Everyone did a good job defensively. It was just hard-fought. In the second half, our kids just made shots under pressure. I thought there were some questionable calls, but the kids just kept playing and didn’t let that get to them.”
Cherokee (13-5, 5-4), which trailed 13-11 at the half, took the lead with a shot by Jovan Morris to open the third quarter.
Woodstock was never able to regain the lead.
From there, Willie McClure made a series of layups for the Warriors, but the Wolverines kept pace. It wasn’t until Morris made a shot and the ensuring free throw, bringing the score to 23-16 with 4:53 left in the third, that Cherokee had a little breathing room.
Cherokee’s Christian Vines made a 3-pointer — his only basket of the game — near the end of the quarter and the Warriors took a 30-20 lead into the fourth quarter.
Cherokee’s offense continued to run at full speed in the fourth, and it picked up points on the free-throw line down the stretch as Woodstock began fouling to get the ball back.
Case helped Woodstock move within five points with a three-point play with 46 seconds on the clock, but those were the final points the Wolverines would score.
Meanwhile, Zack Kvam and Gill combined for five more points from the free-throw line.
Roger Kvam was proud of his players.
“That was a hard-fought game,” he said. “I’m very proud of my guys. Our kids really competed and made big plays down the stretch. Jeremiah Gill, Willie McClure, to start the second half, were stepping up to make shots. They fought hard. (Woodstock is) a very scrappy team.”
Gill led Cherokee with 20 points, while Morris added 13. McClure finished with nine for the Warriors, who will host Centennial in a non-region game today.
Mowery and Case each scored 14 points for Woodstock, which will be at Lassiter today.
Woodstock 60, Cherokee 42: The Lady Wolverines won three straight games for the first time since mid-December, behind 18 points from both Kennedy Montgomery and Ashton Sutton.
No other Woodstock player finished in double digits, but Jessica Alexander came close with her nine points.
Woodstock (10-10, 5-4 Region 5AAAAAA) earned a lot of points at the free-throw line, where it was 18-for-34, but it still left nearly as many points on the court with misses.
Loren Ware led Cherokee (1-20, 1-9) with 19 points. No other Lady Warrior finished with more than five, but eight different players did score in the game.