The George Mason High School girls varsity basketball team returned to its winning ways last week. The Lady Mustangs trounced district opponent Rappahannock County High School last Friday by 69-13 after a 74-32 victory over Strasburg High School last Wednesday.
“The last week has been good for us,” coach LaBryan Thomas said. “The kids got re-focused and we are starting to play really good basketball right now.”
The Lady Mustangs opened up a 24-point lead in the first quarter against Rappahannock County while shutting them out. They rolled on from there.
“[Rappahannock] is down this year, so the competition wasn’t really there, and we started out the game really well, playing great defense,” Thomas said. “Then, I told the girls to tone it down because when you’re winning [24-0], you don’t want to demoralize anybody else.”
Junior forward Stephanie Cheney led the team with 19 points and 13 rebounds in a game where all but two players on the Mason roster scored and four scored seven points. Every player tallied at least a rebound. The most Rappahannock County scored against the Lady Mustangs came in the second quarter, when the Panthers posted six points.
“In that kind of situation, you have to slow things down, so you have to work on your offense. And when you work on your offense and you have that much patience, you’re going to score,” Thomas said. “So we had a lot of kids get in the score book and those two young ladies that didn’t score, believe me, they put up some good shots.”
Sophomore center Ashley Alexander had seven points and five rebounds.
Freshman forward Katie Goodwin, who scored eight points and grabbed four rebounds in the game, has emerged as a vital bench player this season. She has averaged four rebounds a game in the Lady Mustangs’ five district victories.
“She’s a really good offensive and defensive rebounder, and she gets a lot of buckets from her rebounds,” Thomas said. “And she soaks up so much knowledge of the game, and she’s going to be fantastic.”
Goodwin has had ample opportunity to learn this season from the Lady Mustangs’ senior leadership, which includes five starters returning from last season’s team.
“Each game I try to improve as much as I can, and I try to work on things that I normally wouldn’t work on,” Goodwin said.
Despite the Lady Mustangs’ sixth-place finish at the Pohanka Chantilly Classic last month, they were able to continue a five-game regular season winning streak last week with the wins over Strasburg and Rappahannock County. The level of competition at the tournament ranged from private schools to Virginia State triple-A and single-A teams like George Mason.
“I feel like now that we have it under our belt, it was a great learning experience and we can look forward to other really competitive games in the future,” Cheney said.
The Lady Mustangs visited William Monroe High School for another district battle Wednesday, but results from the game were not available at press time.
Going into Wednesday’s game, William Monroe led the Bull Run District with an undefeated district record.
The Lady Mustangs will host Manassas Park High School Friday night.