George Mason High School’s girls basketball team lost 51-39 to Stuarts Draft High School in the Region B championship last Saturday. The loss came a night after the Lady Mustangs beat Central High School 54-46 in a hard-fought win in the regional semifinal.
It was the fourth time George Mason played Central, who they beat to win the Bull Run District tournament. George Mason won its first contest handily against Central in a 65-43 blowout. Central’s sophomore guard Katelyn Poston was out with an injury during that game, but played in the other three matches. In the second game, the Lady Falcons handed George Mason its first home loss in four years on Jan. 24 in a 51-50 victory. The third face-off was the championship round of the district tournament.
“Anytime you play Central, it’s a tough matchup because they have great wing players in [Brenna] Cook and [Katelyn] Poston,” Mason coach LaBryan Thomas said. “We played them four times this season and every time it has been a battle.”
In the most recent game against Central, Mason junior forward Stephanie Cheney scored 15 points, sophomore center Ashley Alexander scored nine and senior forward Lauren Kane added eight.
George Mason jumped out to a 16-6 lead in the first quarter and busted that lead open to a 36-19 lead by the end of the half. Central crept back in to the picture in the third quarter by outscoring George Mason 15-5 and closing the 17-point deficit to seven points. But George Mason held on to the lead for the rest of the game and moved on to the regional championship.
“We came out in the regional championship pretty strong,” Thomas said. “But we were playing pretty tough and by the time the [third] quarter came around, we had no legs. We were gassed.”
The Lady Mustangs got out to a 13-9 lead in the first quarter against Stuarts Draft. They maintained that lead after two quarters and finished ahead 23-19 at the half. Fatigue caught up with George Mason after halftime, and Stuarts Draft took advantage by outscoring the Lady Mustangs 13-5 in the third quarter. The fourth quarter was more of the same – Stuarts Draft outscored George Mason 19-11 in that period.
Cheney scored 16 points, Kane scored 14, and Alexander added four.
Thomas said the team was let down by the loss against Stuarts Draft, but they have not taken their eyes off of the goal of winning the state tournament. He said the team has not been able to find out much about their opponent, Sussex Central High School, so they have focused on practicing their brand of fast-paced, “getting up and down the court” basketball.
“People were disappointed, but they realize that we had to come to play every night and we didn’t show up,” Thomas said. “But we survive; we live to play another day. The aspirations of the team are high going into this Saturday’s game”
The Lady Mustangs play Sussex Central Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in Virginia Commonwealth University’s Siegel Center.