Faced with the task of rounding out their regular season and opening the Bull Run Tournament against the bottom two teams in the district in order to secure a Region B berth, the George Mason varsity girls basketball team took care of business, efficiently dispatching Rappahannock County, 53-25, and Manassas Park, 52-42, to set up a showdown with rival Clarke County on Wednesday.
In the first round of the district tournament on Tuesday, a swarming Mason defense hounded visiting Rappahannock all night long, as the Mustangs held the Panthers to single-digit point totals in each quarter.
Mason came out to a slow start in the first period, as it ended with the Mustangs on top 9-6. However, potent free-throw shooting, coupled with a variety of special defenses, put the host team ahead by 19 points at the start of the second half.
Coach Bill Broderick’s team shot 71-percent from the free throw line, their best showing of the entire season. In addition, the squad racked up 19 steals and 34 rebounds as a team.
Senior Meredith Hamme led all scorers with 11 points, including two bombs from beyond the arc, and made three out of her four free-throws. Sophomore Chantal Thomas, coming off the bench, tacked on 10 points, six of which came from the charity stripe, as well as six steals.
Junior post player Kim Kenny nearly recorded a double-double, tallying eight points and eight rebounds. Mason’s leading scorer, sophomore Nicole Mitchell, was held to four points, but nonetheless made her presence known, snatching eight rebounds.
Seniors Olivia Scott, Bailey Walton, Annie Zweighaft rounded out the top scorers for the Mustangs with five, eight, and five points, respectively.
Taking on Manassas Park last Thursday on Valentine’s Day, Mason was anything but loving to the host Cougars, as the Mustangs rounded out their regular season with a 52-42 victory. Mason led the entire way, building up a nine-point cushion by the end of the first period that they never relinquished.
Hamme and Kenny led all scorers with 11 points apiece to go with eight and four steals respectively. Walton added six points and five steals, while Thomas had three assists and three steals. The Mustangs had 27 steals and 12 assists as a team.
Junior Abby Stroup and Scott tacked on five points apiece, while Stroup controlled the paint off the bench with five rebounds.
With the two victories, Mason has virtually assured themselves a spot in the Region B Division Two tournament, beginning next week. In order to avoid traveling to one of the top seeds in the entire area, however, the Mustangs would have to upset defending state champion Clarke County on Wednesday night in Berryville. Results of Wednesday's game were not available at press time.