By Drew Costley
George Mason High School’s girls varsity basketball team is on a three-game win streak that started last Wednesday with a 57-50 victory over William Monroe High School.
The snow that hit the Metro region last week caused George Mason (5-2, 3-1) to go four days without a game or practice, with the exception of a shootaround the team had last Monday. As a result, the team got off to a slow start against William Monroe, according to Mustang junior forward Katie Goodwin.
“It was kind of a rough game for us because our shooters weren’t on top of their game, because they were coming off of four days without shooting,” Goodwin said.
The Mustangs also got off to a slow start against Central High School last Friday and fell behind the Falcons in the first quarter. But the Mustangs ended up squeezing out a 46-40 win.
“In the first quarter the first couple of minutes were shaky, and then we got our composure and got into the game,” said Head Coach LaBryan Thomas. “We switched our defenses up and were able to take control of the game.” The Mustangs were ahead 9-7 at the end of the first quarter.
They opened the second quarter with a 12-3 run, hit four 3-pointers, and outscored the Falcons 19-11 to end the first half with a 28-18 lead.
“[They’ve] got six-footers outside on the 3-point line chucking up threes,” said Falcons Head Coach Mallory Skarupa. “So I told my team, especially with [Coral Gillette] who was knocking down threes at that time, we’ve got to get a hand up, and if they knock it down they knock it down.”
The Falcons opened up the second half with a 7-3 run of their own and outscored the Mustangs 10-7 in the third quarter. Central continued to whittle down the Mustangs’ lead throughout the fourth quarter, but was not able to overcome the 10-point deficit created in the second quarter.
Despite the win, Thomas said he was displeased with his team’s propensity to turn the ball over. The Mustangs committed 17 turnovers in the second half compared to five in the first half.
“It’s our Achilles’ heel,” Thomas said. “We’re young – we make young mistakes. I keep preaching that it’s going to cost us one day.”
Senior guard Julianna Rollo and Gillette, a freshman guard, led the Mustangs in scoring against the Falcons with 11 points each. Rollo hit three for six 3-pointers and added four rebounds and two steals. Gillette hit three for 12 3-pointers and added four rebounds. Goodwin scored nine points and grabbed 10 rebounds against the Falcons.
Thomas said the game the Mustangs played against Broad Run High School, which they won 52-39, was the best the team has played so far this season.
“We took care of the ball. We started out [focused] in the first quarter,” Thomas said. “We’ve usually been trailing. I mean, we were down two at half, but it’s the best we played all year.”
He said the team rebounded, shot, and communicated well against the Spartans and that such a performance was pivotal for his young team.
“It gives them a lot of confidence,” Thomas said. He said it’s an important time for them to build confidence because of their schedule over the next few months.
The Mustangs are playing district opponents like Strasburg High School and Warren County High School, and then starting their second swing of district matchups with a rematch against Clarke County High School, who will test their mettle.
“We’re getting in that stretch where we’re coming together as a team and we’re looking for each other and we’re playing good ball,” Thomas said.
The Mustangs play Rappahannock County High School tonight and Strasburg High School at home Friday night in their final regular season game of the year.