By Drew Costley
George Mason High School’s girls varsity basketball team won two more district match-ups in the past week. The Mustangs trampled Strasburg High School 55-25 last Thursday and trounced Rappahannock County High School 44-15 on Tuesday.
The Mustangs charged out of the gate against Strasburg and scored 27 points before the Rams made their first field goal. Sophomore forward Katie Goodwin scored 12 of her 18 points in the first quarter of that game, in which the Mustangs outscored the Rams 21-0.
“We decided at the beginning of the game to just go out there and give it all we’ve got at the start,” Goodwin said. “We’re doing this new thing where we’re trying to be more focused and I guess me being focused is driving to the basket.”
George Mason made it difficult for Strasburg to score by deploying a 1-3-1 press defense that covered three-quarters of the court. The team first started using it in the game before against Central High School.
“We’ve been working on a 1-3-1, trying to work some kinks out of it,” said Mason head coach LaBryan Thomas. “We’re getting better at it but it’s something we just started using.”
Because the Mustangs had such a big lead early in the game, backup players got plenty of minutes, starting early in the second quarter. Despite their presence on the court, George Mason was able to hold their large lead and finished the first half up 34-8.
The Mustangs kept dominating throughout the third quarter, outscored the Rams 14-10, and finished with a 49-18 lead. The Rams actually outscored the Mustangs 6-7 in the fourth quarter.
Stephanie Cheney, a senior forward and the Mustangs’ key player, only scored nine points against Strasburg amidst tough defense from Mikala Alsberry, the Rams’ 5’11 junior center.
“When someone is a good match-up on me that’s awesome because that probably means they don’t have enough players to guard our other girls,” Cheney said. “I think that Katie was really on and when you have a girl that’s on, you try to get her the ball.”
Goodwin has been a consistent scoring threat this season and is the Mustangs’ second-leading scorer.
“If Steph gets shut down, it can’t be that we lose a game,” Goodwin said. “So we need other people to step up and become those scorers and I guess that’s one of my goals personally. That if Steph is being shut down I can be an alternate scoring threat so we don’t have to depend on her to get the points.”
Cheney was the leading scorer against Rappahannock County. She scored 18 points and grabbed 12 rebounds against the Panthers and Goodwin scored nine points and got 13 rebounds. Sophomore guard Ava Roth scored two points and had nine assists and junior guard Jaya Chavern also scored two points, grabbed seven rebounds and had five assists.
“If we keep those two guards contributing like that we can go a long way,” Thomas said.
The Mustangs will travel to William Monroe High School to play the Dragons tomorrow night and play Manassas Park High School at home next Monday in their final game of the regular season.