By Drew Costley
George Mason High School’s girls varsity basketball team is on a 13-game win streak against district opponents after wins against Strasburg High School and Madison County High School this past week. The Mustangs beat the Strasburg Rams 45-28 (11-8, 6-7) at Strasburg last Thursday before defeating the Madison County Mountaineers 53-40 (7-10, 7-7) in their final regular-season home game of the year.
Head Coach LaBryan Thomas said the game against the Rams was a good game even though the final score wasn’t close.
“We got a chance to work on a lot of stuff and got the latter part of the bench and saw some good things out of our bench,” Thomas said. “So it gave us a chance to work on a lot of stuff.”
Junior forward Katie Goodwin led the Mustangs in scoring with 16 points against the Rams. Senior guard Julianna Rollo followed up Goodwin’s scoring performance with 12 points of her own.
“Everybody played well,” Thomas said. “Our bench contributed a lot. … Hopefully going into the playoffs our bench is going to help us a lot.”
Thomas said the Mustangs attempted to work on new plays and strategies for the playoffs in the game against the Mountaineers as well, but with different results.
“We didn’t play well,” Thomas said. “I mean we started out well – I think we were up by 20 at halftime. And then we started putting in the bench and tried to work on stuff that we’re trying to put in for the playoffs, and it didn’t go as we planned. But Madison County played hard and closed the gap.”
The Mustangs honored their senior players, all guards, before playing the Mountaineers. Rollo, Jaya Chavern and Emily Lubnow all played their final regular season home game on Tuesday.
The Mustangs haven’t lost to a district opponent since their first game of the regular season against Clarke County High School. In the nine games they’ve played against district opponents since the beginning of 2014, they’ve won by an average of 20 points per game. With one game left in the regular season, the Mustangs have a one-game lead in the Bull Run District standings.
Despite their success over most of their district, the Mustangs still haven’t clinched the Bull Run District championship. The Mustangs play Warren County High School (10-6, 9-4) on the road to finish out the regular season on Thursday. They have to beat the Wildcats in order to secure the Bull Run District regular-season championship.
“We haven’t locked it up yet,” Thomas said. “We have to play Warren County on Thursday and they gave us a good game the last time they played us at home. … If we protect the boards and take care of the ball, I think we’ll come out victorious. But it’s going to take a total team effort and hard work to do it.”
Either way, the Mustangs start the district playoffs on Monday with a home match against Rappahannock County High School (2-14, 0-14). The Mustangs have been the Bull Run District regular and postseason champions for the past five seasons. But they also lost their first match against a district opponent since the 2010-11 season earlier this season with their loss to Clarke County. Thomas said that defense is the key to his team’s success this postseason.
“The team’s been shooting very good. Our offense, I’m not worried about,” Thomas said. “If we play strong on defense and limit their scoring, the sky’s the limit for us. The kids are playing great right now.”