George Mason High School’s girls basketball team got a bit of a reality check with a 60-51 loss to Strasburg High School following a big 60-43 win over Madison County High School last week.
With the win over Madison County, Mason (10-11) capped off a six-game win streak and locked up a top seed in the Bull Run District heading into the postseason tournament this upcoming week. It’s why the team was a little lax in their regular season finale against Strasburg Tuesday night. The Rams played with purpose throughout while the Mustangs didn’t find theirs until the second quarter was winding down. Still, it’s a good lesson to learn since the stakes for a loss aren’t as high as they’ll be moving forward.
“We came out a bit too comfortable because we just came off our Madison [County] win and we were number one and thought we were gonna beat them, but we didn’t come out hard enough,” senior guard Maddie Lacroix said.
Strasburg held a slim 3-2 lead early that grew quickly. Suddenly Mason was trailing 6-2, then 10-4 and then 18-8 by the end of the first quarter. Entering the second frame, freshman guard Zoraida Icabalceta found fellow freshman forward Megan Tremblay in the high-post, who fed Lacroix for a smooth midrange jumper to cut the lead to eight and sparked a little momentum in the Mustangs,
But Lacroix and Tremblay’s efficiency from the field couldn’t keep pace with a Strasburg team that had no problem generating – and converting – scoring opportunities of their own. It was, as Lacroix noted, partly because the Mustangs started the game without their competitive fire burning bright. Mason played a more involved game against Strasburg in a 61-36 road win back on Jan. 11 and kept their seemingly unstoppable bigs from getting too comfortable like they did Monday night.
Strasburg’s 2-3 zone also encumbered Mason’s ability to get easy buckets inside. When Icabalceta sank a quick bucket off an inbound and Lacroix hit a corner three to cut the Rams’ lead to 30-25 a few minutes into the third, the Mustangs appeared primed for a comeback. But the 2-3 zone tightened up and cleared the way for a 12-0 Strasburg run that gave the Rams their largest lead of the night at 42-25. Mason came within eight points in the fourth quarter, but never threatened to take the lead.
“We haven’t played from behind in a long time, and every possession means even more when you’re behind,” Mason head coach Chris Carrico said. “Their strengths is their bigs and we didn’t do a good job of fighting for position underneath and offensive rebounds were killing us, so if we do play them again, we gotta be ready for them and be better prepared.”
The Mustangs never broke a sweat against Madison County. Holding the Mountaineers to 14 first-half points while amassing 33 in their favor put the home team in good position to win. Madison County outscored Mason 19-17 in the second half, but never got close to overcoming its 19-point halftime deficit.
Mason will host its first game of the postseason against the winner of tonight’s lower-seeded match-up this Saturday, Feb 9.