News

Mason Girls Tough It Out To Advance to State Title Game

RICHMOND– It was a tough, physical game throughout, but in the end the size, skill and grit of the George Mason High School girls basketball team prevailed to hand a 64-48 defeat to Glenvar High School of Salem, and by so doing, Mason advances to the State Championship game for the third time in four years. The Mustangs face Gate City for the title Saturday at 3 p.m.

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Talking to reporters after their win tonight, (left to right) Lauren Kane, Coach LaBryan Thomas and Stephanie Cheney told how they did it. (Photo: News-Press)

RICHMOND– It was a tough, physical game throughout, but in the end the size, skill and grit of the George Mason High School girls basketball team prevailed to hand a 64-48 defeat to Glenvar High School of Salem, and by so doing, Mason advances to the State Championship game for the third time in four years. The Mustangs face Gate City for the title Saturday at 3 p.m.

Glenvar coach Nick Stewart, speaking to the press after tonight’s game, credited Mason with the combination of size, skill and “knowing how to win.” He credited Mason’s ability to force Glenvar’s leading scorer, Jessi Strom, “out of her comfort zone.”

Credit for that effort, according to Mason coach LaBryan Thomas, went principally to Krista Kelly. “We have a goal each game of keeping the other team’s top scorer to under 10 points,” Mason’s Lauren Kane said. “We didn’t quite achieve that goal tonight (Strom scored 17), but we won.”

Junior center Stephanie Cheney led Mason in scoring with 20 points, including 10 out of 11 from the free throw line. She said afterwards that the success at the line was “all a matter of focusing,” and that she saw herself “making them for the team.”

Kane added 13 points and was key to getting Mason off to a fast start, scoring 12 of her points in the first half as Mason fought to a 29-25 halftime lead. She ran into foul trouble in the second half, picking up her fourth with 3:39 still left in the game.

But Glenvar was down by nine at that point, 55-46, and began to foul as a tactic to eat away at Mason’s lead. But starting with two free throws by guard Leah Roth, the only Mason player to play all 32 minutes of the game, began a run of seven straight Mason free throws in the game’s final minutes before a layin by Kelly capped off the scoring.

Coach  Thomas credited his bench with making a major contribution. When Mason hit a dry spell in the second period, going scoreless the first four minutes while Glenvar rallied to take a 22-18 lead, Jaya Chaven hit a clutch three-point shot and Katie Goodwin battled under the boards for three key rebounds, and Mason got the lead back by halftime.

The Mustangs arrived early here tonight to watch their Gate City opponent win, and Coach Thomas said “they’re good shooters with a lot of size inside.” But he added that Mason will stick to its game of “pounding it inside,” having a height advantage, nonetheless.
Saturday’s game, he said, “will come down to who wants it most.”