Mason Girls’ Off Target on Final Shots in 41-40 Defeat

By Caitlin Butler

SOPHOMORE GUARD Bella Paradiso’s putback attempt was just a bit off the mark, and allowed Flint Hill School to walk away with a 41-40 victory last Friday. (Photo: Carol Sly)

It was a horrifying Friday the 13th for George Mason High School’s girls basketball team, as it fell in heartbreaking fashion to the visiting Flint Hill Huskies at 41-40 last week

On the last possession of the game, Mason set up a three-point play. The shot was off but sophomore guard Bella Paradiso managed to gather the rebound and put the ball back up. Unfortunately, Paradiso’s second chance also didn’t connect and sealed the loss for the Mustangs.

A hot start to the second half had cold water splashed on it when Flint Hill’s defense came alive.

Sophomore guard Zoraida Icabalceta led the Mustangs in the third quarter with a three-pointer allowing the Mustangs to lead 22-19. Icabalceta followed up with an assist to Paradiso making the home team lead by two points with a score of 24-22. Icabalceta then nailed down another three pointer to allow Mason to take a comfortable five point lead of 27-22.

However, the visiting Huskies began their march toward victory by scoring nine consecutive points following Mason’s run. Flint Hill’s stifling defense affected the Mustang offense and allowed the Huskies to take their first lead since the opening quarter in 31-27. Freshman guard Peyton Jones helped the Mustangs find their pace with a three-point basket to bring Mason within one at 31-30, but would tack on three more points before going into the fourth quarter.

The Flint Hill defense that began constricting the Mustang offense in the third would finally take its toll in the final quarter. Senior guard Julia Rosenberger’s deep three to kick off the fourth quarter put the Mustangs down one again at 34-33, but the offense struggled to find its rhythm. Mason was searching for a three in the final minutes to surmount the Huskies, but ultimately failed following Paradiso’s missed putback.

Early into the contest, it looked as if the Mustangs would come out on top. A Huskie possession opened the game, but Mason took an early 3-1 lead in the first quarter. Flint Hill responded with a three pointer and then deployed its full-court press that contributed to multiple Mustang turnovers. Sophomore guard Zoraida Icabalceta was able to finally punish the Huskies aggressiveness by faking out the defense and going in for a smooth layup to give Mason a one point advantage at 10-9 over the Flint Hill.

The Mustangs added to its lead in the second quarter with some strong offensive play. Junior guard Elisa Goislard fought through a foul and scored a bucket, however, she was unable to convert on the and-one foul shot.

Still, Mason led 12-9 until the Huskies quickly responded with a three point basket tying the score for the first time in the game. Senior guard Julia Rosenberger quickly responded with her own three pointer to give the Mustangs a 16-14 margin in their favor. Mason tallied a total of nine points in the quarter and took a 19-17 advantage into the second half.

Mason will face Robert E. Lee High School tonight at 7 p.m. for their final regular season game of 2019 before holiday tournament play begins next week.