BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
DONNELLSON – The gym just seemed a little flat at Central Lee on a typical bustling Friday night with the Hawks in town.
But that didn’t seem to phase the Central Lee girls basketball team as three players scored in double figures and the Hawks ran away from Wapello in the Southeast Iowa Superconference Shootout, 59-48.
The Shootout pits the teams from the SEISC North and South division against each other according to standings, and the Hawks and Arrows were seeded 4th in the annual add-on.
Central Lee’s Makayla Morrison opened the scoring for the Hawks with a bucket just 34 seconds into the game, but it was a string of 3-pointers about a minute and half into the second half that stood out as a turning point.
With Central Lee holding a 34-27 lead, Morrison would hit back-to-back 3-balls from the wing and right baseline to give the Hawks a 13-point lead.
The Hawks kept feeding the hot hand, and Morrison’s attempt at three in a row rimmed out. In the meantime, the Arrows’ senior Sammy Ewart would miss four straight from the field. Morrison would hit another three on the Hawk’s next possession for a 16-point lead at 43-27.
Morrison finished with a season-high 17 points on the night. Senior Mya Merschman led the Hawks with 22. Alivia Myhre had 13.
Wapello tied the game at 8 in the first quarter, but Myhre would score eight unanswered including a three-point play with about two minutes left in the first to give the Lady Hawks a healthy cushion
Central Lee would then hold consistent double digit leads throughout the game.
Head Coach Jay Baldwin said Morrison’s play showed a different dimension to the Hawks.
“When she can get out and play like that we’re tough to beat. Then Mya can pick her spots and work on distributing the ball and our points come easier,” he said.
“We know what Mya can do, and other teams know what Mya can do. But we gotta make sure others contribute, because we can’t just ride the back of one person.”
Baldwin also said he thought Ella Sanders played well off the bench. Sanders finished with three points, a 3-pointer late in the game to put Central Lee up by 19 with 3:30 left.
“It’s great to have her out there. She’s a senior and I give her a lot of credit she did some really good things… gave us a spark,” he said.
The Arrows would make a late 12-4 run, but time would run short in the rally.
The Hawks also got four from Macy Watkins.
Wapello got 10 points each from Serah Shaffer, Ewart and Lindsy Massner.
The Hawks (7-6, 11-8 overall) have won five of their last six games and open Class 3A Region 9 play next Saturday, Feb. 13 at home against Mid-Prairie. The winner will face the winner of Albia/West Burlington on Feb. 17 at 7 p.m.
Central Lee plays host to WACO on Monday night for Senior Night. The game was originally scheduled to be played in WACO but has been moved to Donnellson.