Last night George Mason High’s boys basketball team was held to 31 points and drubbed by James River in a lopsided 67-31 loss, and the result for the Mason girls’ team this afternoon was almost identical. The girls, two-time defending state champions, were held to 36 points in a 63-36 defeat at the hands of the Radford Eagles.
Neither Mason team will be around for the championship rounds tomorrow, while both the boys and girls teams from Radford will be contesting for state titles.
“She scored 40 points, what else can you say, my hat goes off to her” Mustang coach LaBryan Thomas said of the effort of Radford’s senior Maryah Sydnor in a press conference following the game. Sydnor scored more points than the entire Mason team, hitting 16 of 24 from the field and 8-for-8 from the free throw line to go along with her 12 rebounds in one of the most stellar performances in Virginia High School League post-season tournament history. She was lifted with three minutes to go despite closing in on the VHSL tourney all-time single game scoring record of 47.
“This is a tough way to end the season,” Coach Thomas said after the loss. “But we’re a very young team and I am very proud of them.” Mason sophomore Stephanie Cheney told the press that losing “feels horrible” and vowed “never to let it happen again.” She said her Mustangs “underestimated how good she (Sydnor) is,” and were not able to provide enough defensive help to stop her.
On the other hand, Mason’s fast break offense was throttled, as well. Senior Lauren Kane told the press that the team was startled at halftime to learn it had been able to take only 11 shots when it trailed 16-11 at the half. Radford coach Kevin Conner said that, although he’d not scouted the Mustangs to much, “We got on the Internet to learn about them and knew they like to get up and down the court.” He said, “Our goal was to get them to play a half-court game, which is our strength.”
There was a grudge element for at least one Radford player, as well. Cecilia Scott, who had four blocks and five steals, said she was “hungry” to “get even” with Mason, because the Mustangs have beaten her three times in state title soccer games.
In addition to being unable to get their fast break going, the Mustangs were hurt by 23 turnovers, including 13 steals, and were able to hit on only 1 of 9 shots from three-point range. They were out rebounded 27-18.
With her 40 points, Sydnor was the only player in the game to score in double figures. For Mason, the top scorers were Cheney and Claire Trevisan with 8, followed by Rebecca Moot with 7, Kane with 6, Jaya Chavern with 3, Maya King with 2, and Leah Roth and Ashley Alexander with 1 each.
Despite its loss last night, the entire Mason boys team, after returning to Falls Church in the wee hours of the morning, came back down to cheer on the Mason girls playing today’s game that began at 12:20 p.m.
The Radford girls will play Patrick Henry High, and the Radford boys, who won in overtime last night, will play James River in the championship games here tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Maryah Sydnor, a senior who grew up in Radford, said she hasn’t yet made up her mind about college, and intends to take her time as she visits four campuses in the next couple of months.