Mason City basketball fans have already had three opportunities to see the girls basketball team play on the road.
The 3-0 Mohawks will get a chance to keep their perfect season going Tuesday night in front of its own fans as they host Ames High School in a 6:15 p.m. start.
Mason City comes into the season with high expectations, even after losing Megan Meyer, Anna Lensing, and Megan Hollander to graduation.
With seven seniors returning to lead the 2019 Mohawks, head coach Curt Klaahsen was optimistic on the eve of the new season.
“Clearly, we lost three seniors who all started and were all parts of our program the last four years,” Klaahsen said. “Finding replacements for those people is still kind of a work in progress. The experience we have coming back is excellent. These kids have played together a lot.”
Senior Anna Deets signed her letter of intent to play basketball next season at Western Illinois, and will play a big leadership role for this year’s team. She averaged 12.8 points per game last season.
Coming into Tuesday's game, Deets is leading the Mohawks with a 27 points per game average, while senior Jaeda Whitner is averaging 15 ppg.
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“Anna is not a ra-ra leader, but she is an incredibly hard worker,” Klaahsen said. “She leads by example, does things right, and puts in the extra time. That’s a great leader that you need for your team.”
While he is confident that the 2019 Mohawks will score a lot of points, Klaahsen knows that his team still has a few things that they need to work on before the season kicks into full swing. Mainly, defense.
“I think basic fundamental defense is important for us,” Klaahsen said. “How we guard posts. We force baseline, so making sure we’re doing that, and rebounding. We’re not very big, so we need to make sure we’re rebounding hard every time."
With the team’s tallest player standing 5-foot-10 inches, the Mohawks will not dominate anyone with their size. That makes their ability to play defense down low even more crucial
“Most everyone we play is going to be bigger than us,” Klaahsen said. “If we’re not making good contact, and keeping people off the glass, they’re going to be shooting a lot of short shots and it’s going to be really easy for them to score points on us.”
Even missing two of last season’s top three scorers, Klaahsen says that they expectation for the squad is always to make it back to the state tournament. The biggest stumbling block will be the always tough CIML conference.
“It’s hard,” Klaahsen said. “Every game is tough. 4A has gotten better and better over the years with the talent, and the depth of basketball. Right now, it’s all about getting better every day, defense, and working on offense and penetration. Right now, the state tournament and winning that is quite a ways away.”