Shorthanded Mohawks bury MHS

Playing without its two most heralded players, the second-ranked Mason City girls’ basketball team still showed off plenty of offensive weapons against Marshalltown.

It’s hard to imagine how much better the Mohawks would be if Iowa State-bound Jadda Buckley and Creighton commit Myah Mellman were in the lineup.

But the absence of those two stars hardly affected Mason City on Friday night as the Mohawks buried seven first-half 3-pointers, got a monster effort from freshman Makenzie Meyer and blasted the Bobcats at the Roundhouse, 69-36.

“They are a well-rounded team, but it doesn’t matter what rating you have, we still have to find a way to make stops,” MHS coach Tim Johnson said. “We battled back and forth for a while but we just didn’t get enough stops.”

Meyer scored 29 points while Buckley and Mellman watched another game from the bench. Both future D-I players are missing time due to ankle injuries.

Even without its two best players, the Mohawks are good enough to beat most Class 5A schools. They improved to 14-2 on the season and 3-0 in Central Iowa Conference Northern Division play. MHS lost its third straight and is now 3-12 overall and 1-2 in division play.

“They play a physical style of basketball, and we didn’t jump to the ball when the passes were made,” Johnson said.

The Bobcats improved with the turnovers and hit some open shots but were overmatched by a more talented, deeper Mohawk squad. Every player on Mason City’s bench saw extensive action while the Bobcats played just seven until there was 3:32 to go in the game.

“We really cranked up the defense tonight,” Mason City coach Curt Klaahsen said. “They bought into what we were trying to preach tonight. The defense was solid.”

The Mohawks, who finished with nine 3-pointers in the win, jumped out to an 8-0 lead and then led 13-1 before MHS senior Eisha Oden scored seven quick points to make it 15-8. She would add another bucket prior to the first quarter ending but Mason City still led 23-10.

Oden finished with 17 points for the Bobcats.

“She showed what she is capable of tonight,” Johnson said. “She converted the shots on the break off the press. It is nice to see that we can do that. We just have to do it more.”

The game remained within reach early in the second frame as another Oden bucket made the deficit 13 points.

Mason City then reeled off five straight 3-pointers including back-to-back-to-back treys by Allison Scott to push the lead to 40-12 at the break. That two-point period for the Bobcats ultimately did them in.

“You can’t have that,” Johnson said of the consecutive triples. “We needed to contest the shots better on the open 3-pointers.”

Meyer looked every bit like a Division I player for the Mohawks. She hit four 3-pointers in the game and got many easy layups off her own steals.

“She was all over the place,” Klaahsen said. “She has confidence. She was ready to step it up. And she has talent. There is no question about that.”

Klaahsen said Buckley is close to returning. She missed her eighth game Friday. Mellman injured her ankle in the third quarter of the Mohawks’ narrow overtime loss to now No. 1 Ankeny last Friday. They won’t be rushed back.

“We feel like we can win a state title,” Klaahsen said. “We don’t win the title in January. We win the title in February and into March. Buckley is close. She may play Friday.”