By Drew Costley
George Mason High School’s girls varsity basketball team finished the regular season with an undefeated district record this past week. The Mustangs trampled Manassas Park High School 54-25 on Monday and walloped William Monroe High School 63-35 last Thursday in their final two games of the regular season.
The game against Manassas Park was the last home game and senior night for the Mustangs. Banners were taped to the wall in honor of the five seniors who will be leaving the team after this season: guards Maya King and Miska Chehata, guard/forward Emily Garrett, and forwards Taylor Briese and Stephanie Cheney. Cheney committed to play for the University of Pennsylvania next season.
The team started all of its five seniors, though Cheney was the only regular starter, but still the Mustangs jumped out to an early lead with a 9-0 run. The seniors were subbed out in the middle of the first period for all underclassmen, who built on the lead with a 6-0 run to finish the first quarter ahead 19-5.
“Often times there are upperclassmen in the game with them, so to put [the underclassmen] in an uncomfortable situation was great to see them step up and do what they need to do,” Cheney said. “I’m excited to see that when our seniors and upperclassmen leave that they’ll be able to carry on a legacy that we’ve been trying to create this season and the past seasons.”
Cheney scored 28 points against the Cougars. Thomas said that losing Cheney after this season will leave a void in the Mustang offense and defense.
“Next year is going to be tough,” he said. “It’s going to be a learning experience for the whole team to play without her because we depend so much on her.”
Sophomore forward Katie Goodwin, Garrett, and junior guard Jaya Chavern added six points to the Mustangs’ tally. Garrett said she was looking forward to senior night because all of her friends were coming to the game.
“It was awesome because usually I don’t score that much. Usually I’m kind of timid,” Garrett said. “But with all my friends here I felt really confident and I took more risks.”
Thomas said the Mustangs had great team chemistry against William Monroe. “I think it was the best game we played all year,” he said.
Cheney and Goodwin both scored 20 points against the Dragons. Cheney grabbed 13 rebounds and Goodwin grabbed 11. Chavern added six points for the Mustangs.
Thomas emphasized the importance of strong guard play in the Mustangs’ recent success. Combined, Chavern and sophomore guard Ava Roth have averaged 11.7 assists in George Mason’s last three victories. Roth didn’t score in either of the last two victories, but had seven assists in each contest.
“As long as our guards do what they are supposed to, we’ll be okay going forward,” Thomas said.
George Mason will host the Bull Run District tournament, which starts tomorrow night with the top-seeded Mustangs taking on Rappahannock County High School.