A quality that several of the George Mason High School girls basketball players have mentioned this season is focus. After losing in the state semifinals last season, many of the team’s accomplishments this season mirror accomplishments from last season: They won the regular season Bull Run District title, and seem poised to win the district tournament this year, with the state tournament on the horizon.
“I feel like we definitely have a better chance this year,” senior forward Lauren Kane said of the chance to repeat the past glory of winning a state championship. “I feel like we communicate more as a team. We are more of a family – we stick together through everything. [At practice] we focus, we concentrate, we run hard and we do our plays really well.”
That focus was evident in the team’s 59-16 win over Rappahannock County High School last week in the opening round of the Bull Run District tournament. The Lady Mustangs jumped out to a 17-4 lead in the first quarter and trampled the Panthers from there.
“My hats off to the [Rappahannock] program. They are a great bunch of ladies and they are well-coached. They showed promise,” coach LaBryan Thomas said of the Panthers, who only have a one senior and two juniors on their team. “They’re young and they’re getting better. Every time we’ve played them, we’ve played them three times this season, and you can see improvement of the young ladies.”
As with most routs, bench players were able to see lots of action, but early on in the game Thomas began mixing up the rotations.
“It’s good to get to play with people we don’t usually play with,” sophomore center Ashley Alexander said after the game. She added that it was “kind of weird” competing with different players on the court, because the starting five are accustomed to playing with each other. “But it’s good practice,” she said.
Kane scored 14 points against the Panthers, and Alexander scored nine points. Senior guard Leah Roth added eight points and junior guard Maya King added six. All but four George Mason players scored in the game. Freshman forward Katie Goodwin led the Mustangs in rebounding with eight and junior forward Stephanie Cheney grabbed six rebounds.
The team played Madison County High School Wednesday in the district semis, but results were not available at press time.