Mustang Boys, Girls Win Quarterfinals, Head to Basketball Final Four
By STEVEN BRIESE
March 3, 2012
George Mason High School’s boys and girls varsity basketball teams each won their quarterfinal state tournament games today, advancing to the Final Four next week
The boys team faced a challenge in their match with Essex High School. The Mustangs held a double-digit lead early in the fourth quarter, but Essex fought back to get within two points with one minute left. The Mustangs added a basket, plus excellent free throw shooting and punched their ticket to the final four with a 56-52 win. Four Mason seniors scored in double digits, as Nate Ogle led the way with 15, Phillippe Griffiths added 14, Dmitri Venets had 12 and Noel Obusan had 10.
The Lady Mustangs hoped to continue the success in their quarterfinal match against the Lady Tigers of Sussex Central High School from Sunny Creek, the Division 2 Region A champions. Mason jumped out to an early 5-0 lead with consecutive fast break baskets by Senior Lauren Kane. The Lady Tigers clawed their way back into the game, led by Senior Tatyana Calhoun and closed the score to 12-9. Mustang Senior Leah Roth turned a steal into a fast break basket with eight seconds left in the first quarter, closing the period with Mason leading 14-9.
Junior Stephanie Cheney opened the second quarter with a three pointer and then two foul shots, to widen the lead to ten points. Strong defense pressure limited the Lady Tigers’ scoring opportunities, and resulted in many fast break opportunities. Senior Krista Kelly and Sophomore Juliana Rollo both had steals in the second quarter that they turned into assists to their Mason teammates at the other end of the floor. Mason went into the locker room at VCU with a commanding lead of 39-20.
Coach LaBryan Thomas did not let his team ease up in the third quarter. Defensive pressure continued, with the defense tallying 11 steals in the game and forcing a total of 21 turnovers by the Lady Tigers. Mason’s defense held the Lady Tigers to single digit scoring in the first, third and fourth quarters. The final score was 66-36 for the Lady Mustangs, who return to the final four in the state tournament for the fourth year in a row.
Lauren Kane and Stephanie Cheney led all scorers with 23 points, each, Freshman Katie Goodwin came off the bench to score ten points and grab four rebounds, and Leah Roth had six points and eight assists.
The girls will now face Glenvar High School Thursday at 8:45pm at the Siegel Center at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.
The boys will take on Fort Chiswell Friday at 12:15pm, also at VCU’s Siegel Center.
March 3, 2012