A mid-game rally wasn’t enough for George Mason High School’s girls basketball team as it fell, 52-47, to Washington-Lee High School last Thursday.
The Mustangs (3-6) endured a barrage of deep balls by the Generals in the early going and a double-digit deficit to spar their way back into contention by the third quarter. Being able to surmount a lead that, just a few weeks ago, would’ve spelled doom for Mason (especially against higher classified competition) became a sign of progress for the team.
Again, the Mustangs weren’t able to produce the desired result of a win, but their growth spurt in terms of team cohesion and execution on the court is well-timed with Bull Run District play around the corner.
“The outcome of the game obviously is not what we wanted,” Mason head coach Chris Carrico said. “But I was proud of the girls’ effort and the close game experience will definitely benefit us as we prepare for league play.”
Down 20-7 after the first quarter, Mason withstood Washington-Lee’s heater from the beyond the arc and slowly cut into the home team’s lead during the second quarter. Putting together an 11-5 scoring advantage had the Mustangs down three possessions going into halftime.
The upward trend continued following the intermission.
Mason went on an 8-0 run, punctuated by freshman guard Zoraida Icabalceta’s feed to junior forward Emma Rollins, to take its first lead of the game at 26-25.
From there, the rest of third quarter seesawed back and forth with the Mustangs’ holding onto a narrow 36-35 lead heading to the final period.
Washington-Lee reclaimed the lead once again with consecutive threes to open the fourth, but Icabalceta set up senior guard Maddie Lacroix’s four-point play to push Mason ahead at 44-43 with five minutes to go.
The Mustangs began to lose their sync in the closing minutes with cold shooting from the field and the free throw line to go with poor turnovers, but the Generals shared in the struggle to keep the game tight.
Foul trouble allowed Washington-Lee to pull ahead by converting their chances at the line, and an offensive rebound by the Generals after a missed free throw dampened any hopes of a happy ending for Mason.
“Washington-Lee made contested shots, but we need to work on our defensive communication to make sure that we don’t let shooters get open shots,” Carrico added.
The Mustangs will take part in a holiday tournament at Fairfax High School and open playing the hosts tomorrow night.