BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
DANVILLE – Central Lee senior Mya Merschman believes the key to the Hawks’ season this year is defense.
But right now, it’s her offense that has everyone’s attention.
The senior went for 42 points in Central Lee’s win 76-48 win over Danville Tuesday night in Southeast Iowa Superconference South division girls basketball action.
The 42 points breaks a Central Lee single-game scoring record of 41 set last year by Merschman.
The senior is now averaging 29.5 points a game in four contests, but she said she trade that for a 4-0 record.
“I think we should be 4-0,” she said. “We didn’t play very well against Van Buren or West Burlington.”
Van Buren and West Burlington sit atop the SEISC at 3-1 and 3-0. West Burlington beat Burlington Notre Dame 69-33, and Van Buren edged Holy Trinity 50-46.Tuesday.
The Lady Hawsk (2-2) looked like they were going to get a more balanced attack out of the gate when junior Macy Watkins opened the scoring with a short jumper, and Ella Sanders hit a 3-ball from the left baseline.
Danville was in a heavy full court trap press most of the night and the tempo almost proved too much for both teams as play stopped more than 20 times on the night for traveling calls. The Bears suffered three in the opening minute to allow the Hawks to pull out to 17-2 run.
Twelve of those points came from Merschman as she repeatedly scored off rebounds inside the lane. Then she stepped out and buried a three from about 21 feet on the left side.
Merschman said she knows the double and triple teams are coming and she looks for open shooters.
“I don’t really try to force it. I want my teammates to score, too. But if the opportunity is there. I’m going to take it,” she said.
Head Coach Jay Baldwin said Merschman was looking for chances to get the rest of the team involved.
“Mya did a good job of distributing the ball. She actually had four or five assists, and a rising tide lifts all boats. It helps tremendously when she can do that,” he said.
Central continued to build in the lead holding at 26-11 advantage at the end of the first, and a 47-27 halftime lead. Danville put together a 12-6 run before the end of the first half, but Merschman already had outscored the Bears 28-27.
Danville wouldn’t get any closer than 21 the rest of the way despite constant pressure and an uptempo game. Baldwin pulled Merschman with about four minutes left in the game.
Merschman said she had no idea she was even close to breaking her old record and gave credit to her teammates.
“I didn’t even know. But it’s pretty cool,” she said. “I was trying to drive a lot and then kick it out, and if they knock down shots that’s good. Tonight they knocked down some threes so that helped us.”
“That’s a real credit to Mya getting 42 up here against a pretty good Danville team,” Baldwin said.
In his first year, at Central Lee, Baldwin said he’s satisfied with the 2-2 mark to start, but said the Hawks have to work out the ebbs and flows of a full game.
“I was happy with the double digit win. We’ve been shooting pretty bad and we’ve been working on that a lot. It paid off tonight.”
Aside from Merschman’s 42, Sanders and Watkins were both in double figures with 14 and 10 on the night. Makayla Morrison had seven and Mya Lampe hit for three to round out the Hawks’ scoring.
Fox had 16 for Danville.
Central Lee travels to Winfield Mt. Union (5-0) on Friday night in a cross conference girls double header.