The George Mason High School varsity girls basketball team emerged from a busy week with three key victories over Conference 35 opponents, defeating Madison County High School, 57-19, Clarke County High School, 68-39, and Central High School, 50-23.
The Mustangs (11-4) have become a Swiss army knife on the court as the team continues to topple opponents in a variety of ways. Whether they win going away or pull off a late comeback, Mason has experienced varying ebbs and flows in games this season and their record shows it’s been to their benefit.
“We’ve had 32-minute battles that have come down to the wire, we’ve had to come back a few times, and recently we’ve gone up big at half and never looked back,” head coach Michael Gilroy said. “As long as the girls realize that we need to play the same way regardless of the score, I feel confident that this group can continue to improve.”
The past week was the Mustangs’ most dominant yet. Mason won all three games by a combined 175-71 margin thanks to doses of defense, a strong interior game and the maturation of its young, core players.
The Mustangs upended Madison County on Jan. 11 with a 38-3 run, harassing Mountaineer ball handlers into steals and run-outs. Mason’s defense kept Madison County uncomfortable throughout and allowed the Mustangs to cruise to a win.
A chippy battle ensued between Mason and reigning Conference 35 champion, Clarke County, on Jan. 13. The Mustangs blew open a nine-point lead after the first quarter with a 21-2 second quarter to put the Eagles away. Mason received solid paint presence from a trio of juniors in center Kaylee Hirsch, guard Isabella Ashton and forward Jenna Short, who put up a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Sophomores Raquel Dodd (12 points) and Maddie LaCroix (8 points) also had efficient performances on both ends.
Mason handled Central on Jan. 16, outscoring the Falcons in all four quarters, while refusing to give up double-digits in each quarter.
But even with these signs of growth, Gilroy still wants more from his team.
“We are so close to being a very good team, [but] we aren’t there yet,” he said. “The day that I have 13 kids all bouncing and talking in practice is the day that I know we all really want to meet our end goal.”
The Mustangs continue their journey to Richmond when they host Warren County on Monday, Jan. 23.