The Mason girls varsity basketball team is playing Friday in the state quarterfinals against Booker T. Washington High School.
After setting high expectations after a trip to the regional semifinals last year, the Mustangs have already exceeded expectations this year.
George Mason has a record of 18-8 (10-2 record in the region) coming into this game. In the postseason, the team is 4-0, including a regional championship. Their tear includes a thriller against Brentsville, where senior Emma Rollins hit two three-pointers in the fourth quarter, propelling Mason to a 38-31 win.
“When I started playing on varsity, [in my sophomore year] the seniors that year were my role models, they were strong in tough moments and always had your back, and knew when they had to make a play,” Rollins said. “I think a lot of my success comes from being older than the other girls, and more experienced, and that Coach Carrico expects me to be able to make those tough plays.”
This season, underclassmen have taken the team by storm. Since there are only two seniors, the players with little varsity experience have had to show up in big ways.
“I think it has been a full year experience the number of tough games and different atmospheres we have played in,” said head coach Chris Carrico. “We have had lots of one-possession games this year and by having a full year of that have helped us out.”
Booker T. Washington is going to the state tournament for the first time. Washington, the five-seed in their region, upset first-seeded Hopewell, 48-46, sparked by Jacq’ema Britt’s go-ahead layup with eight seconds remaining in the game.
The Mustangs’ keys to success will be implementing their full-court defense early. The Bookers aren’t the best ball-handling team, and the Mason defense has been stellar this year. This postseason, they have held opponents to 29 points per game.
“Our strength as a team has been defense, we get a lot of stops on defense and teams who score 60 or 70 points per game we hold them to 40 or 30 points per game,” freshman Elizabeth Creed said.
Mason plays Friday against Booker T. Washington in the state quarterfinal at Marshall High School (7731 Leesburg Pike). Fans are encouraged to wear white.