When a VHSL class 2 team (George Mason) plays a class 6 team (Yorktown), you might expect depth to be a problem for the much smaller class 2 school. Depth was indeed a problem on Wednesday night when George Mason took on Yorktown, just not for the Mustangs.
Mason used an 11-player rotation to keep the defensive pressure on the short-handed Patriots, while senior forward Jenna Short scored 15 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead Mason to the victory, 44-29. Mason took the lead in the first quarter and never relinquished it.
“Well, I try to get in as many of these girls as possible,” smiling Mustang coach Mike Gilroy told us after the game. “I’m trying to keep these girls happy for one and if I get them in games I can get ’em to practice a little better. Just to play these bigger schools and get this competition gives us a lot of confidence.”
Yorktown was without guard Liz Shean on the evening. She, along with fellow junior Maggie Shipley, form a formidable one-two scoring punch for the Patriots. Without Shean too much fell on Shipley’s shoulders. While the talented point forward-type did a lot of damage (19 points), she received little scoring help from her teammates and had to work hard for everything she got.
“Without Shean we knew we could overload on #4 [Shipley],” Gilroy said. “Once I saw she was in street clothes our game plan changed dramatically. At halftime we were going to leave people and double her and get the ball out of her hands.”
Even if Yorktown had Shean, it may not have been enough against George Mason on this night. Her presence wouldn’t have changed the fact the Mustangs have a pretty talented front-court led by Short and senior center Katherine Hirsch. Those two helped to give Mason a 35-21 rebounding edge. They, along with promising sophomore center Daria Douglas off the bench, consistently got good shots off put-backs and in the post.
Gilroy acknowledges he is fortunate to have such a front-court. “Short and Hirsch do such a good job for us. Hirsch seals [down low] better than just about any post I’ve seen.”
The Mustangs’ back-court also played a nice game as George Mason seeks to replace the leadership of graduated point guard Sarah Lubnow. Victoria Rund dished out four assists, while Nicole Bloomgarden and Madeline Lacroix combined for 17 points. All three distributed the ball effectively down low and played tenacious defense–especially on Shipley.
Yorktown (2-2) will need more of its kids to step up and be assertive if the Patriots are to realize their considerable potential. For a while in the fourth quarter the other Patriots became assertive with Shipley on the bench, looking for their shot and playing more aggressively. That will have to continue even when Shean returns to action, which should be soon.
Meanwhile, Mason (3-1) continues a difficult non-conference schedule against bigger public schools and powerful private ones. The Mustangs will play Washington-Lee and #2 Bishop Ireton, and tangle with some good competition at Rebel Roundball after Christmas. For now, Gilroy’s just happy about that opportunity.
“I’m just thankful Yorktown and some of these teams agree to play us,” he said.
all stats are unofficial
|Threes: Lacroix 2-3, Rund 0-1, Trundle 0-1, Short 0-2, Dodge 0-3, Nicole Bloomgarden 0-4|
|Threes: Pinto 1-1, Shipley 2-9, Linville 0-2, Cochran 0-3, Hemstreet 0-3|