A three-year odyssey enters another promising chapter for the Mason City High girls basketball team tonight, and the Mohawks are determined to write a championship ending to their story.
This will be the third consecutive year Mason City has reached the state basketball tournament. Tonight, the Mohawks look for that elusive first tournament win against Iowa City West in a game that has some intriguing storylines.
The game itself holds great promise. Mason City is 20-3, ranked No. 3 in the state and is the second seed in the tournament. West is 18-5, ranked 10th and seeded seventh.
It features what probably are the state’s top two players, Mason City’s Jadda Buckley and Iowa City West’s Ally Disterhoft. Despite playing in different conferences, they know each other very well having shared the backcourt as members of the All-Iowa Attack in AAU play. The rivalry will continue as Buckley will attend Iowa State while Disterhoft will play for Iowa.
The coaches are familiar with each other as well. Mason City’s Curt Klaahsen and West’s B.J. Mayer squared off in the Lakes Conference, Klaahsen at Cherokee and Mayer at Spirit Lake, before they moved on to their present schools.
“Curt and I have had some battles,” said Mayer, who is from Osage and started his coaching career at North Iowa, leading the Lady Bison to the state tournament in 1999 before heading to Spirit Lake. Last year, he guided West to the Class 4A title.
That title is what Mason City is shooting for starting tonight. The talent level is there to make it happen.
Mayer is certainly impressed.
“The thing that impresses me, and not just Jadda, is Myah Mellman, Cortni Rush, the freshman (Makenzie Meyer),” he said.
Mellman says it’s definitely a team effort, noting everyone put in a lot of work before and during the season.
“Everybody is ready to get back at it,” she said of the tournament. “I think just how unselfish our team is. It doesn’t matter night in night out who scores and who doesn’t score, we just want to get the game won.”
Rush said the state tournament is part of the Mohawks’ overall plan but that getting there is not enough.
“We have goals,” she said after the regional final. “This game is a part of that goal.”
As much fun as the season has been for the girls, it’s been extraordinary for fans — some of them new to girls basketball, we suspect, because of this team’s excellence and success.
It’s not often that such a stellar combination of players comes together. Tonight, those players get their reward for all their hard work — an appearance in the state tournament.
Game time is 6:45 tonight in Wells Fargo Arena. A big crowd on the Mohawks’ side is guaranteed.
Let the cheering begin: Go, Mohawks!
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