Defense Suffocates Wildcats in Major Win

By Caitlin Butler

SOPHOMORE GUARD Zoraida Icabalceta (right) helped steer Mason’s defensive-led win with multiple steals. (Photo: Carol Sly)

George Mason High School’s girls basketball team had an impressive defensive performance in a 54-16 win over the visiting Warren County High School Tuesday night.

The Mustangs came out firing and finished the first quarter up 20-3 after shutting down the Wildcats’ best player and only senior Brianna Hogan.

“We were keyed in on their best player and making sure we limited her touches and making sure we play a team defensively. We want to make them as uncomfortable as we possibly can and take them out of their comfort zones. We did a good job of that tonight,” said Mason head coach Chris Carrico.

Defense often set the table for offense in this contest. For instance, steals by sophomore guard Zoraida Icabalceta allowed Mason to notch its first bucket early in the game. That carried over into the second quarter, where the Mustangs continued to hold down the Wildcats offense by only allowing them to add just seven points. Meanwhile, the Mustangs’ aggressive man defense kept generating steals and easy scores, tallying up 17 more points for Mason by halftime.

The early 37-10 cushion after two quarters allowed Carrico to rotate reserves into some game action. “Just getting all 11 girls engaged right from the get-go. That keeps everybody more into the game” said Carrico.

The second half of the evening was no different than the first. Scoring slowed down a bit with the bench players getting more court time, but the Mustangs were still able to add 17 more points between the last two quarters and outscore the visiting Wildcats by wide margins.

“Today it was definitely the defensive intensity and just focusing on shutting down their offensive abilities. Then generating our offense off the way we play defense,” said Icabalceta on the Mason victory.

The Mustangs will be on the road for their next game on Friday at Central High School with at tipoff set for 7:30 p.m.