BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
DONNELLSON – The Central Lee girls basketball team is still working on new things despite the season being almost half over.
The Lady Hawks rolled Cardinal of Eldon 61-22 in an SEISC South division matchup Friday night in Donnellson.
Head Coach Jay Baldwin applied a full court press for almost the entire first half with Mya Merschman, the state’s leading scorer, creating havoc in the front of the trap scheme.
The pressure off the inbounds plays caught the Comets off guard, especially with 6-1 Merschman corrupting passing lanes and leading traps.
“We wanted to show them something they didn’t see last time,” Baldwin said after the win.
“It worked. But we’re still testing and trying things. We normally would have done that kind of thing in the summer to work out the kinks, but this is what we have this year.”
It worked was an understatement as the Hawks scored in transition regularly as Merschman, who surpassed 300 points on the season with a game-high 32, disrupted passing lanes as the Comets tried to find a way to get the ball over the time line.
Merschman missed her first field goal attempt of the game, but then the Lady Hawks converted six straight highlighted by a 3-point play to give Central Lee an early 16-2 lead.
The senior would have 18 by the end of the first half, but it was the ball movement that impressed Baldwin.
Sophomore Makayla Morrison played dealer in the second quarter by handing three assists to three different Hawks in a 17-2 run leading to a 39-8 halftime advantage.
Central Lee would surrender just five points in the third period, while getting hot from the field. The Hawks didn’t miss a field goal in the period and went 2-of-4 from the line.
Morrison finished with nine points, followed by Macy Watkins with eight. Ella Sanders had a couple 3-pointers for six points in the night, while Maura Watkins, Kelsie Stewart and Lauren Schreck each added two points.
Baldwin said Morrison has been a key in the backside of the press and on the weak side defensively.
“She’s just been playing really well and has pulled down some big rebounds from the back side,” Baldwin said.
Kolbie Bass led Cardinal (1-6, 2-6) with nine, all on 3-point baskets.
Central Lee improves to 4-3 in the SEISC south and 6-3 overall and travels to Fort Madison Saturday night for a boys/girls varsity doubleheader.