Arts & Entertainment

Mustangs Take 1st District Game

Kenny, Thompson Lead GMHS From the Inside

KIM KENNY (23) and Ashley Thompson (34) have provided a powerful interior presence for the George Mason High School girls varsity basketball team this season. (NEWS-PRESS PHOTO)A come-from-behind victory over AAA Fairfax in the Chantilly Tournament highlighted the holidays for the George Mason High School girls varsity basketball team, but a 32-23 road win over Madison County was an equally nice “welcome back” present for the Mustangs, as the team opened its Bull Run District schedule on Tuesday.

Sophomore Kim Kenny led the scoring ledger for Mason (4-6, 1-0 Bull Run District) in the win over Madison County, posting 12 points to go with her seven rebounds and three steals. Providing the other half of Mason’s low-post, 1-2 punch, senior Ashley Thompson pulled down a team-high 13 rebounds in addition to her four points and three steals. Bailey Walton rounded out the Mason high scorers with seven points.

The Mustangs pulled ahead early, 7-0, before foul trouble forced three of their starters to the bench. Madison County capitalized on the momentum and managed to take a 15-14 lead heading into half time. However, Mason regained the lead 21-19 to end the third quarter and then held the Mountaineers to just four points in the final eight minutes to pull away for a decisive road win.

“Wins on the road in the Bull Run District are going to be a valued commodity,” Mason Head Coach Bill Broderick said, pointing out that Strasburg, usually one of the district’s top teams, barely edged Manassas Park by one point at home on Tuesday night. Manassas Park has lately been a team that has stayed near the bottom of the standings.

“The bottom of the league has really picked it up and caught up to the top half,” Broderick said. “There’s a lot of parity now.”

Prior to the Mustangs’ first Bull Run matchup of the season, George Mason finished with a mark of 1-2 in the Pohanka Chantilly Classic. The host team, Chantilly, downed Mason 60-49 in the tournament’s opening round. It would be the closest margin for Chantilly as they coasted to the championship.

In that game, Nicole Mitchell led the way for George Mason with 15 points, while Walton scored 11 and Thompson scored nine, including seven of eight from the foul line.

The next day, the Mustangs downed Fairfax behind what was perhaps the best game of Kenny’s young career. The Mason center scored 19 points, while Walton was close behind her with 13.

“Kim has improved every game and does a lot of little things well,” Broderick said. “Now she’s adding some scoring and rebounding.”

Thompson added eight points and Annie Zweighaft scored four points, all from the foul line, to account for the rest of the Mustangs’ scoring.

“That was a big win for us,” Broderick said. “We were down by as many as eight in the fourth quarter … that’s a good win.”

Mason’s luck didn’t hold on Friday, as the team succumbed to Georgetown Visitation 62-39. Thompson led all Mason scorers with 10 points.

“We were down 35-9 at the half and we couldn’t recover,” Broderick said. “Maybe it was a bit of a hangover from the win against Fairfax, maybe because it was their third game in three days, or because the game started at 10:45 a.m. Those are all excuses on that one, but the tournament definitely got us ready for the league.”

Despite returning to the friendly confines of Mustang Gym for their next district contest, Mason will face a stiff challenge in facing the Clarke County Eagles, a team that finished last year with a record of 29-1. Their only loss came in the state finals.

Tip time for Thursday’s game is at 7:30 p.m.