Ever since she was a young girl, basketball has been Anna Deets’ life.

She grew up around the game because her grandfather, John Oertel, was the women’s basketball coach at NIACC from 1984 to 2011. Her mother, Julia Deets, was also a basketball player at NIACC. The game just runs in the family.

And now as a sophomore at Mason City, the time has come for Anna to forge her own legacy. But she doesn’t forget where all of it comes from – her grandfather.

“If I ever have any questions about basketball, I can just go to him,” Deets said. “He always knows what to do, and he also has really good workouts like I can always go out to the NIACC gym and shoot with him and just make myself better as a basketball player.”

And it’s growing up in that environment that’s made Deets the girl she is today.

“It’s really fun because every single day all we talk about is basketball and I wouldn’t want to have it any other way because it’s just basketball, basketball, basketball,” she said.

When the Mohawks (14-9) tip off the Class 4A girls state basketball tournament at 8:30 p.m. Monday night vs. Grinnell inside Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Deets will be one of the focal points for a Mohawk team which has dreams of another state title.

Deets is the Mohawks’ second leading scorer coming in at 10.2 points per game and has made 31 3-pointers. In her second season as a starter, Deets’ progress from year to year has been noticeable.

From 5.8 points per game as a freshman to where she is now, Mason City coach Curt Klaahsen said it’s one area of her game that’s shown the most growth.

“I think (she’s) more under control,” Klaahsen said. “Last year there was a lot more hard drives to the basket and she honestly was falling down a lot – just some balance things, probably, and some out of control – and she’s much more in control of herself and her game. That comes from some maturity and some growth, too.

“I think she’s had a really good year so far and we just need to continue to have different options.”

The other thing is she doesn’t need to be to go-to player for Mason City. That title belongs to all-state guard and Iowa commit Megan Meyer.

Not having to be that kind of player has taken some of the pressure off Deets, and it’s also something a little extra that’s pushed her into this year.

“She definitely has more confidence on the floor,” Meyer said of Deets. “She can do everything that you need. She’s a good shooter, good passer, good rebounder, she runs the floor, so it’s cool to see her step up into a role like that.”

What it’s amounted to is Deets filling an important role for the Mohawks as everyone else on the team has, too, in getting them back to the state tournament for the sixth time in the past eight years. Now, they want to add another state title trophy into the trophy case in the gym lobby.

It starts Monday night vs. a Grinnell team which come in seeded third with a record of 21-2.

Slowing down 6-foot forward Sienna Durr is at the top of the Mohawks’ to-do list. Durr comes in averaging 21.5 points per game.

“She’s a guard playing post,” Klaahsen said of Durr. “She can shoot the 3, she can drive, she can do all sorts of things that just makes her hard to guard.

“It starts with her, but their whole starting lineup is scoring good points per game. In a lot of way, they’re similar to us. They like to get up and down the floor, they like to shoot 3s and they like to press.”

After Durr, Macy Harris averages 13.1 per game, Kameron Moore is at 12.8 and Naomi Jackson stands at 12.1.

With three players back from Mason City’s roster on the state title team from two years ago having experience at state, the big thing is getting the rest acclimated. The Mohawks feel more than ready, though.

“I’m just really excited to be back,” Meyer, who was a freshman on that team, said. “It’s such a fun feeling being able to walk on the court with everything around you, and I’m excited for all of our other girls to be able to experience that, too.”