Sports

Mason High Girls Win 2nd State Championship in a Row, 58-47

Lady Mustangs Stop Lancaster in Richmond Final

Led by five seniors playing their last game, George Mason High’s Lady Mustangs successfully defended their state basketball crown Saturday, trouncing the Lancaster High Red Devils, 58-47, at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Siegel Center in Richmond, and taking their third-ever state championship. (Photo Gallery and story after the jump)

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BACK-TO-BACK STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS for Falls Church’s George Mason High girls basketball team was achieved with a victory over Lancaster High in Richmond last Saturday. The jubilant Mustangs, led by five seniors playing their final game at Mason, celebrate following the win. (Photo: Phil Duncan)
Lady Mustangs Stop Lancaster in Richmond Final

Led by five seniors playing their last game, George Mason High’s Lady Mustangs successfully defended their state basketball crown Saturday, trouncing the Lancaster High Red Devils, 58-47, at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Siegel Center in Richmond, and taking their third-ever state championship.

DSC_0194Saturday’s win marked Mason’s second consecutive Virginia Group A Division 2 title, having wrested the crown from Floyd County in last year’s championship. Their first state crown came in 1998 with an upset of J.J. Kelly High School.

The Mustangs were led in Saturday’s title game by seniors Chantal Thomas and Nicole Mitchell. The two combined for 31 points, 21 rebounds and nine assists and both shot 50 percent from the field. Mitchell has topped 1,000 points in her Mason career.

Defensively, those seniors and sophomore Bria Platenburg held the Red Devils’ star Andrea White, headed for Georgetown University to play basketball next season, to 17 points, 10 below her season average. The Mustangs also prevented White from grabbing any offensive rebounds until the fourth quarter.

“The team was hungry for a win,” said Mason Head Coach LaBryan Thomas, whose daughter, Chantal Thomas, ended her career at Mason with the championship victory. “The seniors wanted to repeat last year’s victory and go out on a good note.”

Coach Thomas is two-for-two, having won two state titles in his two years as head coach at the school. He became teary-eyed when interviewed on statewide TV after the game, talking about seeing his daughter triumph in her final game.

The coach added, “All the seniors set the tone for the game.”

The Mustangs led 36-22 by halftime aided by 13 points from Mitchell, and never let their lead drop below 11 in the second half on the strength of a tenacious defense, with a relentless fast break and strong ball handling on the offensive end.

When Lancaster closed Mason’s lead to 48-37 with 5:58 in the final period, Coach Thomas called a time out and told his players to “buckle down on defense and retain their composure,” he said after the game.

P3132040Platenburg added eight points in the win, freshman Stephanie Cheney had nine, and sophomores Lauren Kane six, and Leah Roth four.

Lancaster was led by White, who is also a 2,000-point career scorer, with 17 points and 16 rebounds. Jasmine Moody contributed 15 points, with 11 from Ashley Ransome.

In the semifinal game here Thursday, the Lady Mustangs rallied to defeat Chilhowie 54-42 to make it to the championships.

The Mustangs were down 13-11 by halftime, but broke loose in the second half, topping Chilhowie 42-29. Freshman Cheney led the girls with 16 points, with Platenburg adding 12 and Mitchell, 11.

However, the semifinal win wasn’t easy, with the Mason girls down six points with five minutes remaining in the game. “It was a huge challenge to pull off that late-game comeback,” Coach Thomas said.

In addition to Chantal Thomas, Saturday’s championship win marked the last game for Mason star guard Nicole Mitchell, and forwards Adeyianka Bowman, Kelsey Kane and Emily Pyne.

The Mason girls team’s season finished 23-2, making the girls the first Virginia girls basketball team to take the state crown in consecutive years since Robinson Secondary won the AAA championship in 1995-1996.

Last weekend’s win recalled the first-ever Lady Mustang team to win a state title in the fall of 1998. Playing in Salem, Virginia, on Dec. 5, Coach Jim Spiridopoulos’s team was led by the state Player of the Year, Kate Jackson, along with Katie Kuhn, Robin Wilson, Emily Rudd, Erin Scrutchins and Kerry Kuhn, in its upset of J.J. Kelly, 43-26.

 

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(Photos: Phil Duncan and Judy Lubnow)

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