Mustangs Heat Up By Winning 3 of Last 4

FRESHMAN FORWARD Megan Tremblay has grown into her role on both offense and defense as the season has progressed. (Photo: FCCPS Photo/ Carol Sly)

After starting the season with four straight losses, George Mason High School’s girls basketball team has rebounded by winning three of its next four games, capped off by Tuesday’s 52-44 win over Broad Run High School.

Mason (3-5) looked like a team with a ton of underclassmen in the season’s first few weeks. The Mustangs couldn’t crack 40 points in a single game while struggling to seal off scoring lanes and secure rebounds on the defensive end. But ever since last week’s inaugural win over John Paul the Great Catholic High School, Mason’s cleared the 40-point mark easily in its past two victories and has been stingy on defense to boot. Things are looking up for the young squad as of now.

“It’s just been momentum,” freshman guard Zoraida Icabalceta said. “We have a lot of freshman, so it took some time to gel as a team. And at first we didn’t know the plays so it took some time to learn those also.”

The win over Broad Run was on par with the win over John Paul the Great in terms of significance.

The Mustangs opened up the game without scoring a field goal until the last two minutes of the first quarter when senior guard Maddie Lacroix finally snapped the drought with a floater to put Mason within four at 10-6. It would get worse before it got better as Broad Run went on a short 7-0 run punctuated by a three pointer that came after the Spartans blanked two free throws before snagging the offensive board.

Staring down a 23-12 deficit, the Mustangs rallied with roughly five minutes to go in the second quarter to change the complexion of the game. Freshman forward Megan Tremblay hit a corner three, Lacroix set up freshman guard Bella Paradiso’s layup on a fast break and Lacroix scored nine points herself, the last being a straightaway trey that rolled around the rim and in at the buzzer to head into halftime up 26-23.

Mason didn’t dawdle coming out of the break. Paradiso, Tremblay and Icabalceta helped build the Mustangs’ advantage to 35-25 a few minutes into the third quarter, though Broad Run only trailed by two possessions thanks to an end-of-quarter sprint to sit at 37-33.

Lacroix buried a three at the 6:30 mark of the fourth quarter and Tremblay pushed the lead to 46-39 after a nice feed from Icabalceta. But a high-arcing three-ball that banked in kept the Spartans close with three minutes to play. That’s when Icabalceta took command, going coast-to-coast for a layup and then hitting a stop-and-pop jumper from the free throw line to put Mason ahead 50-42. Tremblay finished a steal that Icabalceta started on the ensuring possession to put the Mustangs’ insurance bucket in the hoop and clinch the game.

“They’ve gotten accustomed to their roles,” Mason head coach Chris Carrico said. “I don’t want to hit our stride yet, but this past week and a half has definitely been a lot better for us.”

Mason travels to Washington-Lee High School tonight.