The Cherokee girls basketball team knocked off Region 5AAAAAAA opponent Roswell for the second time this season, winning 70-49 on Tuesday.
With the win, the Lady Warriors improved to 13-5 overall and took sole possession of first place in the region at 4-1. It was the team’s fourth straight win, with each coming by at least 11 points.
For Cherokee, it was the game-planning and preparation that propelled it past Roswell.
“Our kids had a good day of preparation on Monday,” Cherokee coach Matt Cates said. “Our coaches did a great job of getting them ready. I was out on Monday, and our assistants did a great job. It was our kids just working every day. I felt like we had a good game plan, and the kids executed it well.”
Presli Clark led Cherokee with 19 points, while Keimarya Rivera recorded a double-double of 17 points and 17 rebounds, dominating the paint on both ends of the floor. Karoline Karl and Toni Warren each chipped in with 13 points.
“(Clark) was huge,” Cates said. “She had a really good game, and it was not only just points. She played well defensively and rebounded well. One stat that stood out was Keimarya had 17 rebounds by herself. That is huge. Seventeen rebounds out of one player is a big deal.”
Rivera has been a rock in Cherokee’s lineup all season, and the Lady Warriors will need her to continue producing. Cherokee will look to even the season series with Woodstock on Jan. 21 and has its first matchup of the season with Alpharetta on Friday.
Looking to win their fifth consecutive Region 5AAAAAAA title, the Lady Warriors have put an emphasis on practicing the details. Cherokee has gone 43-2 in regular-season region play over the last 4½ years, and it hopes to continue that highly productive level of play.
“It is the little things,” Cates said. “We have gone back to a lot of basics in practice and simple things that maybe we were overlooking early on. Maybe we were overlooking some things that we should not have. Just the fundamental things of basketball. We have gotten back to those fundamentals, and it seems to be paying off for us.”
Four of Cherokee’s final six games this season are against teams with records above the .500 mark. The road does not get any easier for the Lady Warriors, but they are in a solid spot with the postseason on the horizon.
“We feel that we are in a good spot,” Cates said. “We want to be playing well come region tournament time. The region tournament is going to be in February, so we are looking to keep improving as the season goes, and we want to be playing well in February and March.”