MASON CITY – And then there were six.
The Mason City girls basketball team has had remarkable success over the past few seasons, a run that produced a Class 4A state title in 2016 and four additional state tournament appearances over the past seven seasons.
Five blue banners commemorate the Mohawks success, and on Tuesday, those five were joined by a sixth to mark the Mohawks 58-41 victory over Waverly-Shell Rock in regional final play, a win that advances the seventh-rated Mohawks to the state tournament for the sixth time in eight seasons.
“I felt really good with how the kids put things together,” Mason City coach Curt Klaahsen said. “They did a good job of preparing.”
The Mason City defensive game plan worked to perfection in the first half.
After Waverly-Shell Rock won the opening tip, Mason City guard Megan Meyer stole a pass and drove for a layup to put Mason City with just 12 seconds elapsed.
The Mohawks went on to force 23 turnovers in the first half along as they bolted to a 38-17 advantage at the intermission.
The Go-Hawks made one big run in the third quarter to cut the lead to 13, but Mason City responded with six straight points and held the lead around 20 for the remainder of the game.
Meyer finished with 27 points to lead Mason City.
Anna Deets, a sophomore forward, added 13 while senior forward Hannah Faktor had eight.
Despite the Mohawks string of state tournament appearances, Klaahsen is quick to point out that this year’s team won’t be the most experienced group he has taken to Des Moines.
“Our experience from last time is Megan (Meyer), Hannah (Faktor) and Autum (Anderson),” Klaahsen said. “So it will be new.”
Faktor and Anderson are the only seniors on the team.
Nine of the 15 Mohawks on the roster are either sophomores or freshmen.
“It’s huge,” Faktor said of making state. “I had to step up my game and my defense.”
On the state title team of two seasons ago, Faktor averaged 2.1 points per game.
The Mohawks missed the tournament last season.
Mason City (14-9) will learn its fate late on Wednesday as one remaining regional final needs to be completed before pairings can be assigned.
Regardless of their seeding, this year’s Mohawks, who won their regional games by an average of 23 points, will be seeking more decorations for the walls of the Mason City gym.