Girls basketball advances to the state semifinals with regional championship win

Carter Mackinnon, Staff Reporter

girls basketball team
The girls basketball team moves onto the state tournament after a big win against James Monroe. (Photo by Carter Mackinnon)

By now, it’s no secret that Mason’s girls basketball team wants to push the tempo. On Sunday, the Mustangs ran away from visiting James Monroe and into a spot in Wednesday’s VHSL state semifinal game.

Both teams came into the game off big regional semifinal wins, but it was Mason that came out victorious in the regional final. The Mustangs completely dominated the game on both sides of the ball, as they went to a 68-23 win over the visiting Yellow Jackets.

Sunday’s win gives the Mustangs a spot in the state semifinal game against New Kent on Wednesday, the winner of which will move on to the Virginia High School League Class 3 state final and play the winner of Carroll County vs Spotswood.

George Mason (13-0) ran away early from No. 3 Yellow Jackets (8-5), who looked defeated right from the opening tip. The Mustangs started the game on a 7-0 run sparked by three pointer by Zoraida Icabalceta (#5). After a lot of James Monroe turnovers, the first quarter ended 25-6. All of the Yellow Jackets points came from senior guard Isabel Whitman (#3).

The Mustangs didn’t stop scoring in the second quarter as they opened an 18-0 run. Mason held the Yellow Jackets scoreless in the quarter until 3:27 remained. Peyton Jones (#12) finished with 16 points in the first half. Icabalceta lit up the stat sheet with 12 points, six rebounds, and six assists in the half. Mason led 51-12 at the halftime break.

Once the second half began, the clock ran for the whole half. Most of the Mustangs’ starters were out of the game early in the second half, but the bench stepped up. Freshman Maureen Tremblay (#42) added a three pointer to push the Mason lead to 62-16 with little time to play in the third quarter. Mason led 62-18 at the end of the third.

The Yellow Jackets and Mustangs exchanged baskets in the final quarter and Mason came out victorious 68-23.

“Playing defense hard, trapping, and then running the floor offensively is something we do really well,” Jones said after the win.

The Mustangs were led by Jones with 18 points, Icabalceta with 12 points and 8 rebounds, and Elizabeth Creed (#33), who helped defensively with three blocks and added 10 points.

James Monroe was led by Whitman with 10 points, who played her final game of her career without taking a seat.

Mason’s goal from the opening tip of the season has been to win the Region 3B title and reach the Class 3 state tournament. The Mustangs now have to go through New Kent (9-4), who beat No. 2 York and No. 4 Petersburg in their respective region tournament.

“We got one goal in mind, and we are two games away from it. We will take it game by game, they (the players) have been really good about getting better everyday and pushing ourselves to get better,” Carrico said. “I’m not worried about being ready for the next game, we will be ready.”