BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Holy Trinity had no answer for Central Lee’s Mya Merschman on Friday night.
The junior scored 35 of the Lady Hawks 46 points as Central Lee downed Holy Trinity 46-25 Friday night at Central Lee.
When Merschman hit 31 points an announcement was made that she had eclipsed 1,000 points in her three years playing for the Lady Hawks. A celebration is set for halftime of Tuesday’s game against New London.
“I knew I was close but I didn’t know if I was going to get it tonight or not,” Merschman said. “But I really wanted to get there.”
The Central Lee girls school record is 1,589 points, which seems quite a ways away, but Merschman said it’s something she’s shooting for.
She’s average of about 26 points per outing with a season and half left, barring any setbacks she could get close.
Most of Merschman’s points came inside the lane as Holy Trinity couldn’t move with her regular two-step cross in the lane. She was 16-28 from the field and went 3-of-4 at the free throw line.
But she said her teammates are making things possible for her.
“The passes were really good tonight so that allowed me get me the points. My teammates have always helped me out a lot.”
Holy Trinity got behind early in the first quarter 6-0 before sophomore Kassi Randolph got the Crusaders on the board with a bucket underneath. It would be one of the few times HTC would score in the lane as Central Lee packed the defense at the blocks.
So HTC head coach Tony Johnson moved to a perimeter game, but the lid was on for sure as the Crusaders shot just 3 of 11 in the first quarter. A 3-ball by Ashlyn Haas at the buzzer cut the lead to 8-10, with Merschman scoring all Central Lee’s points.
The Lady Hawks wouldn’t get a bucket from any other player until the 4:25 mark of the second period when Kaylynn Summers would score just outside the lane for an 18-10 lead.
The shooting woes continued in the second quarter for HTC with the girls shooting just 2 of 10. Hopper and Claire Pothitakis had the only Crusader scores as Central Lee pulled ahead 22-12.
Central Lee would then go cold out of the halftime break missing their first seven shots from the field before Daly Brisby put in a 3-pointer with 3:38 left in the third. Holy Trinity would only manage a free throw during the stretch, and found themselves in a hole they couldn’t recover from down 27-13.
Junior Bailey Hellweg would bang in a couple 3-pointers down the stretch but HTC would only get as close as 12 the rest of the way.
Head Coach Tony Johnson said it wasn’t a matter of not getting open looks, but the Lady Crusaders couldn’t find the range. And with Central Lee forcing HTC to shoot from outside by keeping the post clogged up, he said they had be able to shoot from the perimeter.
“If we could hit some shots, we could’ve got them to come out. But we couldn’t hit a shot,” he said.
“We had a lot of good open shots we just didn’t make ’em. I’m glad they were shooting, because I’m trying to get them to shoot more so I wasn’t going to rein them back.
“If it’s not inside you have to be able to make them from outside, but if they’re playing a pack-line defense, your not going to get anything inside.”
Hellweg led the Crusaders with six points on the night, followed by Randolph with five, Pothitakis four, Haas three and Brooke Mueller added a bucket.
In addition to Merschman’s 35, Central also got four points from Makayla Morrison and Summers, and three from Brisby.
The Lady Crusaders fall to 5-6 on the year and travel to Mt. Pleasant on Monday. The Lady Hawks take on New London Tuesday at home.