BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
ELDON – Central Lee Head Coach Jay Baldwin was surprised when he looked at the score sheet Tuesday night after his Lady Hawks rolled Central Lee 57-17.
Senior 2019 2nd team All-State selection Mya Merschman had put up 30 points, picking up right where she left off averaging just over 25 points per game last year.
“It was a very quiet 30 points,” Baldwin said. “I had no idea she had that until I picked up the score sheet after the game. It was all in the offense. We moved her around a little but and they tried to mix things up, but she did really well.”
The Lady Hawks took control early pressuring the Comets off the tip and getting the game uptempo in the first quarter. Baldwin took off the press early after Central Lee opened up a 12-0 lead with less than three minutes gone forcing a Comet time out.
Merschman hit from inside and out giving Cardinal fits throughout the first half with three 3-pointers and three buckets working inside. She was rewarded for that hard work going to the free throw line and hitting 6 of 7 in the first half.
Baldwin said she got dinged up a little working inside and didn’t play the whole second half, but Cardinal began to trail her which opened up opportunities for other Hawks in the second half.
Central Lee held Cardinal to just 12 points in the first half and then only 5 in the second.
Baldwin called it a good team win considering it was the first real game action Central Lee has seen all year, including scrimmages.
“We’ve just been working on the fundamentals. We didn’t even scrimmage or any stuff like that.”
He said Central Lee has a history of starting slow and that was the message for the girls before Tuesday’s game.
“We wanted to make a statement,” Baldwin said. “History tells me that we have a notoriously slow-starting team. That was our big thing – we didn’t want to start out slow. I think we jumped out to 12-2 before they got a time out.”
Baldwin said Cardinal isn’t as bad as the score would indicate, which he said points to a solid team win.
“Cardinal is not a bad team. If someone zones them or let’s them control the pace, I think they’re going to be very good. They have a couple real nice athletes.”
The Lady Hawks experimented with some different defensive things than in the past, and he was a little nervous about those changes in a real game situation.
“We did a really nice job defensively, even after we pulled the press off. We still have a lot of things to work on obviously, and you can pick a game a part, but overall I didn’t expect it to be the way it went.”
Macy Watkins had 11 points for the Lady Hawks, six in the 4th quarter with Merschman getting some time off. Maura Watkins has six, followed by Makayla Morrison with five.
“Morrison is going to be stud. She did a really good job of controlling the game,” Baldwin said.
Ella Sanders and Kelsie Steward rounded out Central Lee’s scoring with three and two points, respectively.
Kinsey Hissem led the Comets with 11 of the teams 17 points.
The girls are off now until Dec. 1 when they are scheduled to travel to Van Buren County.