Mason City rained 3s on top of West High, and the scores came from every corner of the court and from just about every player in white. The Mohawks defeated the defending state champion Women of Troy 72-53 in a Wednesday night quarterfinal at Wells Fargo Arena.
“Wow. It was just a great game for us all around,” Mason City senior guard Jadda Buckley said.
Mason City (21-3) will play West Des Moines Dowling (20-4) in the semifinal Friday. West finished 18-6 with a lineup full of sophomores surrounding all-stater Ally Disterhoft.
Mason City finished with a five-player state tournament record 14 3-point baskets. Two six-player teams once made 14 3s, Elk Horn-Kimballton and AHST of Avoca, but the previous five-player mark was 12.
“I knew we had 14, but I didn’t know we set a record,” Buckley said. “That’s awesome. Good for us.”
“That’s lights out. They really came out and made a lot of their shots,” West’s Dani Craig said. “We tried our best to cover them, but in the end, it didn’t turn out our way.”
The Mohawks hit six of seven 3s against West’s zone in the first quarter in busting out to a 22-13 lead. They came from Buckley, Myah Mellman, freshman Makenzie Meyer and reserve Allison Scott.
“Once we started off with that first 3 (by Mellman) and then we started knocking them down and knocking them down, we were just on a roll, and we were ready to keep that roll going,” Buckley said. “We knew we were all hot so whoever had the open shot we were like, ‘Take that shot.’
“It was just a blast out there.”
The Mohawks made four more 3s in the second period and ended the half with a 40-27 lead.
“When we were in a zone, we didn’t do a good job of identifying their shooters,” Disterhoft said.
But how do you identify anyone when they can all hit 3s? Mellman was thrilled to see West in a zone defense.
“That’s what we’ve done all season, drive and kick and knock down the 3-point shot,” she said.
And that’s what West coach B.J. Mayer was most afraid of. Yes, the Mohawks came into the tournament shooting a lusty 44 percent behind the arc, but Mayer was more afraid of what they would do if they drove and drew the defense to them.
“We knew they were good shooters; we hoped that they didn’t make 10 out of 13 in the first half, and they did,” Mayer said. “But we were really trying to keep them out of the lane because Jadda’s so good at getting into the lane and creating things for others. We just weren’t able to get back to the shooters.”
Mayer said he thought about starting in a man-to-man but just had to pick his poison.
“Obviously, if you second guess, you’d probably change that,” he said. “In all the film we watched, whenever they were able to get into the lane, they were able to make layups, get fouled and make 3s. We wanted to turn them into a 3-point shooting team, and to their credit, they were pretty good at it.”
The result was eerily similar to a 73-52 loss to Davenport Assumption in January when the Knights made 12 3s against West’s zone.
Mason City made 10-of-13 3s in the half and shot 61 percent overall. West shot a serviceable 47.6 percent from the field but just couldn’t keep up. The Women of Troy made two 3s. Turnovers were not really an issue even with West’s young lineup, but it couldn’t find a way to stop the hailstorm of 3s.
“We talked about not having too many nerves, just go out there and play how you’re used to playing,” Craig said.
The closest West could get in the second half was 10 points. Mayer switched to a man-to-man, but even then West couldn’t get enough stops on defense to make a run at the Mohawks.
“We tried to get more pressure on them and see if we could stop their 3-point shooting,” West’s Mikaela Morgan said. “Obviously, they were hitting them still.”
“We just knew to drive and get that open 3 because they were falling for us, so you might as well keep shooting them,” Buckley said.
It could have been 16 3s. Two they made were waved off on traveling calls.
Disterhoft scored a game-high 31 points and tried to carry West. Craig added 10. The Women of Troy shot 48 percent, which was close to what Mason City ended up shooting (51.1 percent). But the Mohawks made 14 3s (out of 22) to just four for West.
“They’re a great team,” Disterhoft said. “I don’t think they outplayed us, they just outshot us.”
WEST (53) – Ally Disterhoft 12-23 6-7 31, Laynie Whitehead 1-2 0-0 2, Dani Craig 4-11 0-0 10, Lauren Larson 1-1 0-0 2, MIkaela Morgan 2-2 1-2 5, Paige Parker 0-0 0-0 0, Grace Tafolla 1-2 0-0 3, Kristina Bauer 0-0 0-0 0, Mollie Mason 0-1 0-0 0, Kelcie Kraft 0-0 0-0 0, Rachel Kessler 0-0 0-0 0, Hannah Fairfield 0-1 0-0 0, Jordyn Schneider 0-0 0-0 0, Molly Breitbach 0-0 0-0 0, Jessie Harder 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-43 7-9 53.
MASON CITY (72) – Morgan Vorba 1-2 0-0 3, Jadda Buckley 6-10 0-0 16, Makenzie Meyer 3-6 0-2 7, Myah Mellman 6-10 8-8 25, Cortni Rush 2-8 2-2 7, Tricia Notermann 0-0 0-0 0, Kendall Cornick 1-1 0-0 2, McKenna Whitehill 0-0 0-0 0, Nicolle Hewett 0-0 0-0 0, Allison Scott 2-4 2-2 8, Rachel Danielson 0-0 0-0 0, Mari Wilson 0-0 0-0 0, Marci Wolters 0-1 0-0 0, Lexy Pederson 1-2 0-0 2, Molli Koehler 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 23-45 12-14 72.
3-pointers – West 4-15 (Disterhoft 1-6, Craig 2-6, Tafolla 1-2, Fairfield 0-1), Mason City 14-22 (VOrba 1-1, Buckley 4-5, Meyer 1-3, Mellman 5-8, Rush 1-1, Scott 2-4). Rebounds – West 19 (Morgan 7), Mason City 26 (Rush 9). Assists – West 10 (Criag 6), Mason City 18 (Buckley 7). Turnovers – West 12, Mason City 11. Total fouls – West 11, Mason City 15.