George Mason High School’s girls basketball team won its fourth straight Bull Run District tournament last Friday with a 59-49 victory over Central High School. The win also marked the fourth straight year that the Lady Mustangs won both the regular season and post-season titles.
Junior forward Stephanie Cheney was named Bull Run District player of the year after the game. Cheney, along with senior forward Lauren Kane, received first team all-district honors as well. Coach LaBryan Thomas was named coach of the year.
“I wouldn’t be here today without my teammates,” Cheney said of the honor. This is her second consecutive year receiving the award.
Senior guard and team captain Leah Roth was named to the all-district second team. In the first quarter against the Falcons, Roth was helped off the court with an injury.
Initially, when Roth went down and was helped off the court, Thomas was conflicted.
“I thought the best [for her] – I thought the worst [for the team],” he said. “When you lose a player of that caliber, you always think the worst.” But Leah’s younger sister, freshman Ava Roth, stepped up in her absence.
“Obviously I was concerned with [Leah’s] well being,” Ava said. “But we had to keep our head in the game because we had to respect Central. They are a good team.”
Thomas was proud to see Ava handle the situation effectively.
“She’s growing up,” Thomas said. “She was able to step in and fill her sister’s shoes tonight.”
Kane, who was out with an ankle injury for much of last season and ineligible for any regular season accolades, said “it feels good to win first team all-district, but even better to win the championship.” She said the team was “nervous” about beating Central after losing to the Falcons 51-50 last month. It was the team’s first home loss in four years.
But despite blowing a 12-point first quarter lead and even falling behind Central for a moment in the third quarter, the Mason team pulled out the championship win. Cheney said the team came back stronger after stumbles against the Falcons.
“We came together as a team and thought ‘What would Leah do?'” she said. Cheney scored 19 points, sophomore guard Julianna Rollo scored nine points and Kane scored eight points against Central.
Before the championship, the Mustangs beat Madison County High School 47-38 in the semifinal round of the tournament last Wednesday. Sophomore center Ashley Alexander led George Mason in scoring against Madison County with 15 points. Cheney scored 14 points and Rollo scored nine points.
The Mustangs play Goochland High School in the quarterfinals of the Region B tournament tonight.