MASON CITY — This past summer was an important three months for Megan Meyer.
Mason City’s all-state basketball player spends most of her time during the offseason with a basketball in her hands, and the summer is when she perfects her craft in AAU. This year had a little bit extra to it as Meyer was able to toss some weight off her shoulders by committing to Iowa like her sister, Makenzie, before her.
With an improved game and a college decision out of the way, Meyer is ready to take the next step.
“I just feel really relieved,” Meyer said of her decision. “I know it’s the right spot for me and I don’t have to worry about that stress anymore.”
A relaxed and improved Meyer is excellent news for the Mason City girls basketball team which is trying to get back to the state tournament after missing out last year.
With Meyer, who averaged 18.5 points per game, leading the way as a sophomore, the Mohawks struggled early on to fit the pieces around her, and by the time the young roster had it figured out, it was almost too late as they fell in a Class 4A regional semifinal.
Over the offseason, in addition to getting her daily shots up, Meyer took the steps to make herself better on the defensive end to attempt to round out her game. The goal was not about her as an individual but to help this team reach its potential.
“I’m really excited,” Meyer said. “I feel like our team is getting along really well, we play really well together, and I think we have a good shot of having a good record and being good this year.”
To Mason City coach Curt Klaahsen, Meyer’s improvement has been noticeable in the way she’s playing up and down the floor.
It’s also an attribute her teammates notice as well in what makes her such a good player.
“She makes us a whole lot better,” Mason City sophomore Anna Deets said. “She does score a lot but she also looks ahead for you on the fast breaks. She’s a great point guard and she’s a great leader overall.”
One of the things Mason City is most excited for this season is that it has most of its core back from last year.
Due the loss of a big senior class in 2016 which helped the Mohawks to a state title, a lot of young and inexperienced girls were pressed in to duty early last season. They had their growing pains, but they feel that experience last year pushed them to be better this year.
“Last year we were a bunch of new people playing together, and last year and then this summer and fall, it’s helped us figure out we can play together,” Deets said.
Deets, along with Hannah Faktor, were two players who saw their roles increase as last season wore on.
Deets, then a freshman, averaged 5.8 points per game, which was second on the team, and Faktor tossed in 4.6 points while grabbing a team-best 112 rebounds.
The Mohawks also mixed in a few other sophomores and freshmen.
“I think this group can potentially be quite a good group,” Klaahsen said. “I think we’re faster than we were the last couple of years, and potentially offensively we could be really good. We’re tough to guard, but it’s going to come down to defense.”
Mason City, which opens the season ranked No. 8 in 4A, will play its typically tough schedule within the CIML against 5A opponents on most nights. That’s something they would trade, though.
They’re just ready to prove they belong back on the state’s biggest stage.
“Last year we didn’t really get a lot of respect after being the defending state champions, so I’m real excited we’re ranked No. 8 and I hope to keep that up,” Meyer said.