Mustangs to Vie for Top Seed, Add 3 District Wins

by Drew Costley

George Mason High School’s girls varsity basketball team beat Madison County High School 54-40 at home on Tuesday. Last week, the Mustangs won two district games before losing for a second time to East Rockingham, a fellow VHSL state champion.

The Mustangs beat William Monroe High School, 69-41 last Wednesday. Senior forward Stephanie Cheney led the Mustangs in scoring with 22 points and eight rebounds and junior guard Julianna Rollo scored 15 points, 12 of which came from 3-pointers, and grabbed two rebounds. Sophomore forward Katie Goodwin scored eight points and grabbed five rebounds.

Last Friday, George Mason beat Manassas Park High School, 63-27. The Mustangs sprinted out of the gate and finished the first quarter with a 25-2 lead. After two quarters of play, they led 35-15. George Mason had another scoring frenzy in the third quarter and finished that period ahead 53-19. Then the Mustangs played more evenly as bench players got minutes during a 10-8 fourth quarter.

“They’re kind of down this year. They’re a young team,” said Coach LaBryan Thomas. “It was challenging because they have an all-new coach staff so we didn’t know what to expect. But we took advantage of all the mistakes they made.”

Cheney scored 16 points and snatched 11 rebounds while Goodwin brought in 10 points and 10 rebounds against the Cougars. Sophomore forward Gen Schmitt scored eight points and grabbed three rebounds against Manassas Park in a game where all but three Mustangs scored.

The day after their win against the Cougars, the Mustangs traveled to East Rockingham High School for the second of two face-offs against the fellow state champion team from a different district.

George Mason played the Eagles close in the first quarter and finished the quarter down 6-5. In the second quarter, the Eagles opened up a big lead and finished the half ahead 25-13. The Mustangs outscored the Eagles 18-14 in the third quarter and were only outscored 16-14 in the fourth quarter. But they couldn’t overcome that second quarter run by the Eagles and lost 55-45.

Cheney scored 24 points and tallied 11 rebounds and Goodwin scored 12 points and added eight rebounds against the Eagles. Rollo scored nine points, all of which were from 3-pointers.

On Tuesday, the Mustangs beat Madison County High School for the second time this season. The Mountaineers were coming off of a 44-39 upset of Clarke County High School to take over second place in the Bull Run District standings, but lost 5’10 senior forward Renee Lucas after she broke her nose in the second quarter against George Mason. According to Thomas, the Mustangs “were able to take advantage” of their opponent’s inability to find a player who could defend Cheney, who is 6’1, in the low post.

Cheney scored 22 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, which put her over the 1,000 rebound mark for her career, and Goodwin scored 11 points and snatched 10 rebounds against the Mountaineers.

The Mustangs start a two-game road trip on Thursday at Clarke County High School, followed by a game at Central High School next Tuesday. If the Mustangs beat Clarke County, they clinch the top seed in the Bull Run District playoffs and the regular season championship.