George Mason High School’s varsity girls basketball team’s five-game win streak came to an end with back-to-back double-digit losses to Loudoun County High School, 64-47, and South Lakes High School, 45-32, in the Cougar Holiday Classic at Oakton High School last week.
Finishing the three-day, three-game tournament against two out of conference opponents who possess a combined record of 16-5, Mason couldn’t flinch if they wanted to come away with victories. Slow starts in both contests kept the Mustangs out of the win column, but the tournament still served as a favorable benchmark for the 2A state tournament aspirants.
“We played hard – I can’t fault that – we just got a lot of things we need to work on,” Mason head coach Michael Gilroy said. “We got to play against three really good teams…so to get that competition and to be in both games [was good], we were just a step slow defensively.”
Against South Lakes, Mason was staring down the barrel of 12-point deficit late in the first quarter thanks to a barrage of three-pointers from the Seahawks. The Mustangs held South Lakes to a mere five points in the second quarter, but only managed five points themselves and kept Mason trailing by 10 points at the half.
A 16-point showing from the Mustangs in the third quarter, carried by sophomore forward Raquel Dodd’s nine points, brought Mason to their closest margin at 29-23. However, timely buckets from the Seahawks allowed them to stave off the Mustangs and head into fourth up 35-27. Another five-point quarter in the fourth ensured Mason would end the tournament without a second victory.
“It’s always hard when we’re not having a good shooting day,” said Dodd, who finished the game with a team-high 12 points. “But then we need to focus more on driving to the basket and if we can’t get the lay-up there, then get the foul and take your shots.”
Just as it was versus the South Lakes, a nine-point deficit by the end of the first quarter against Loudoun County proved to be too much for the Mustangs overcome. Even with strong performances in the remaining quarters where Mason scored capably against the perennial 4A power, it still wasn’t enough to hurdle the early gap and led to the team’s 17-point defeat.
Junior guard Nicole Bloomgarden led Mason with 14 points, while fellow junior Kaylee Hirsch added eight as did senior guard Sarah Lubnow.
Mason was back on the hardwood with a road game against William Monroe High School yesterday, Jan. 4, but results were unavailable at press time.