By Drew Costley
George Mason High School’s girls varsity basketball team lost two games and won one on the way to sixth place in the Pohanka Chantilly Classic last week. Chantilly High School, the tournament host, beat the Mustangs (7-4, 6-1) in the opening round of the tournament last Thursday 40-36.
Both teams had difficulty in the opening minutes of the holiday tournament. Junior forward Katie Goodwin scored the first points of the game just after the four-minute mark, at which point both teams combined for seven turnovers.
The Mustangs had a 7-5 lead going after the first quarter and were up by five in the middle of the second quarter. But the Mustangs continued to commit turnovers while the Chargers got a slightly better handle on the ball – George Mason committed five turnovers while Chantilly committed three in the second quarter.
“Chantilly is very, very long and they’re good at putting hands in the passing lane,” Goodwin said. “And we’re just so used throwing the chest pass because people in our district don’t have hands in the passing lane, but Chantilly is really good at [defending] that.”
A score by Chantilly junior wing Sarah Reeves in the final seconds of the second quarter gave the Chargers a 17-16 lead at the end of the half and put the team ahead for good. Although the Chargers maintained the lead for the rest of the game, the most they led by was four points.
“It just really came down to one or two bounces here or there, and they just happened to fall our way,” said Kurt Sporkmann, head coach of the Chargers. “But, you know, George Mason … they are always a team to be reckoned with. Last year they made it to the finals, so we knew it wasn’t going to be an easy game against them.”
Goodwin led the Mustangs with 22 points and 15 rebounds against the Chargers, but stood on an island when it came to scoring and rebounding. Sophomore guard Shelby Fields was the next leading scorer with five points and freshman forward Maddie Cherry was the next leading rebounder with six boards.
The Mustangs committed 20 turnovers as a team while the Chargers committed 12. George Mason freshman guard Sarah Lubnow led the team in turnovers with six. Turnovers have been an ongoing weakness for the Mustangs this season and George Mason Head Coach LaBryan Thomas said earlier in the season that turnovers would be his team’s downfall against tough opponents.
“We’re young and we make too many young mistakes,” Thomas said. “And it’s costing us down the stretches in games.”
The stat lines were more even for Chantilly. Senior forward Kelsey Young led the Chargers in scoring with 13 points, followed by freshman guard Mary Cougherty with seven points and sophomore forward Shawnice Gresham with six points. Gresham led the Chargers in rebounding with six boards and three other Chargers added four boards to the team’s effort.
Chantilly went on to beat W.T. Woodson High School 32-22 in the semifinals of the tournament on Friday before losing to McLean High School 61-46 in the tournament final on Saturday. McLean won the tournament in 2012 by beating the Mustangs 59-32.
The Mustangs won their first game in the consolation bracket by beating Mills Godwin High School 55-48 on Friday before losing 59-51 to Battlefield High School in the fifth-place game on Saturday.
The Mustangs open the New Year with a game Friday at Madison County High School before coming home to play Warren County High School next Wednesday.