Sports

Lady Mustangs Head to States Looking for 3rd Consecutive Title

As the high school girls basketball playoffs progress, things are suppose to become more difficult, with more and more accomplished teams and formidable opponents creeping onto the schedule.

In theory.

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Two-time defending champs, the Lady Mustangs are back in the state tournament. (Photo: Judy Lubnow)

As the high school girls basketball playoffs progress, things are suppose to become more difficult, with more and more accomplished teams and formidable opponents creeping onto the schedule.

In theory.

For the team at George Mason High School, which might be playing its best basketball of the season at the most opportune time, the wins just keep coming.

Last Saturday, the Mustangs captured the Region B championship with a 57-34 victory over East Rockingham. To reach the final against East Rockingham, Mason knocked off rival Strasburg 68-33 in the quarterfinals before defeating Clarke County 65-19 in the semis. This was the fourth victory for the Mustangs against Clarke County, which they defeated twice in the regular season as well as in the Bull Run District Final to capture the league championship.

In preparation for East Rockingham, a new high school, Mason head coach LaBryan Thomas scouted his opponent. Also, East Rockingham lost one of its top players to injury earlier in the playoffs.

“It was a good game,” Thomas said. “We knew what we had to do to get a win.”

Mason now sports a record of 22-5. The team has won 15 straight games, by an average score of 62-27. The Mustangs last lost on Dec. 30 at a tournament in Delaware.

“The team is playing really well right now,” Thomas said. “They’re ready for the stretch run.”

Thomas sees freshman Ashley Alexander has key to the Mustangs success. Whereas sophomore Stephanie Cheney is the team’s most dominant player, solid play from Alexander dilutes the opposing team’s defensive effort.

“Our team is very balanced,” the coach added.

The two-time defending Virginia State Group A champions begin defense of their title against a familiar foe – Lancaster High. The Mustang defeated Lancaster in the finals last season, and in the semis the year before that.

“Its another team similar to us,” Thomas said. “They try to push it up and down the floor. We’ll have to see what happens.”

Mason plays against Lancaster High in the state quarterfinals on Saturday at Robinson Secondary School. The listed game time is 11 a.m.