MASON CITY | Ninth-ranked (3A) Clear Lake did enough to make Mason City feel uncomfortable.
Fifth-ranked (5A) Mason City did just enough to win.
In a game where Mohawk starter Tricia Notermann suffered a knee injury and star sophomore Makenzie Meyer spent the majority of the contest on the bench due to foul trouble, Mason City held off a pesky Clear Lake team 49-38 in the season opener for both teams Monday.
Mohawk coach Curt Klaahsen said get used to the tight ball games for his club.
“That’s going to be our M.O.,” Klaahsen said. “We are just going to have to find a way to win.”
The Mohawks did Monday but the Lions didn’t make it easy on them.
It was your typical season opener filled with missed opportunities on both sides and a crucial injury for Mason City.
The game couldn’t have started any better for Notermann. The senior was in the starting lineup and promptly buried a 3-pointer to open the scoring.
But minutes later she landed awkwardly on her knee and was visibly shaken before she was carried off the court.
It was an early blow for a team looking to develop depth in the early season.
Klaahsen said the knee was hyperextended but added more tests will likely be done and her status going forward is up in the air.
As for the game, after a rough first quarter where the Lions only tallied two points, they played the Mohawks nearly even over the final three quarters.
“I told our girls that we had a lot of missed opportunities,” Clear Lake coach Bart Smith said. “We had some missed layups, some travels and some missed free throws, but we did some good things.
“We learned that we can get to the lane against a tough defensive man to man team.”
Neither team shot the ball well from the field. Mason City finished at 33 percent from the floor while Clear Lake shot at a 31 percent clip.
Mason City’s largest lead of the game came early in the fourth quarter after a Rachel Danielson 3-pointer made the Mohawk advantage 35-21. Clear Lake, though, countered with a 7-0 run capped by a Trudy Peterson 3-pointer to climb within seven.
But pair of Myah Mellman free throws followed Meyer knifing her way to the goal for three field goals midway through the quarter helped Mason City thwart the upset attempt. Mellman scored a game-high 14 points – eight of which came from the free-throw line – while Meyer tallied 12. Logan Anderson was the lone Lion in double figures with 12.
“We’ve got to be excited about what we have going on and where we are going to go,” Smith said.
Added Klaahsen, “That’s why it’s the first game. We have to learn from it.”