For the second straight night, the George Mason High School girls varsity basketball held its opponent to two first-quarter points and did not cede a field goal for over nine minutes. And for the second straight night the Mustangs won running away.
Mason will enter its toughest stretch of the season on the heels of a scrappy 47-20 victory over visiting Madison County High School in the Mustangs’ second Bull Run District contest. From the opening tip, which Mason instantly converted into a fast-break layup, the Mustangs dominated the scoreboard and the floor. But not without a substantial fight from the Mountaineers.
“We’re always in a dogfight when we play Madison County,” Mason coach LaBryan Thomas said. “They say it’s a curse but we never play well against them. It’s their style, they just try to slow the game down.”
Mason once again struggled with a packed-in zone, shooting just 1-for-9 from beyond the arc – the one coming in fourth quarter garbage time by junior Amanda Rolander- and 38 percent from two-point range. Thanks to a stifling defense, which forced 31 Madison turnovers, the Mustangs still had to work on the offensive end to find themselves improve to 2-0 in district play.
“Today I feel we worked hard for the points we did get, but that defense they played against us actually threw us off quite a bit,” guard Chantal Thomas said. “We had the heart, we had the hustle, but they were just sitting and not moving at all. When we had to wait for them to get their defense set up, things weren’t just moving.”
A full-court press that allowed two points in the first quarter and no field goals for 10:32 to start the game helped pad a relatively stagnant offense that poured in its second-lowest point total of the year. Sophomore Bria Platenburg had 12 points to lead all scorers while classmate Lauren Kane chipped in 10 and four boards. Mason’s top two scorers, seniors Nicole Mitchell and Chantal Thomas, were held to four points apiece, but helped direct an offense that had only 15 turnovers.
The shooting issues, though, seemed not to phase coach Thomas.
“I’ll live and die with outside shooting with Nicole and Lauren,” he said. “We were definitely getting what we wanted despite being slowed down a little.”
The win keeps Mason undefeated in the Bull Run District as it continues its quest for back-to-back state titles. Separating the Mustangs and their two biggest games of the year – mid-week matchups with undefeated Strasburg and perennial rival Clarke County – is Saturday’s contest versus AAA powerhouse Robinson High School, a game rescheduled from the Battlefield High tip-off tournament in early December.
The 8-4 Rams have lost two in a row, most recently a 45-44 Concorde District drop to Chantilly High School, a team that the Mustangs lost to 55-42 on Dec. 29.
“We’ll see what we’re made of these next few days,” coach Thomas said. “We just have to focus on the defensive end but I have no doubt the offense will come. Games back-to-back, kids will struggle, but by next week we’ll be rested and ready to go.”