RICHMOND - Down the stretch Lauren Kane was big in George Mason’s Virginia High School League Group A Division 2 basketball championship game beating Gate City 50-47.
Kane sunk two free throws to put the Lady Mustangs up 49-46 with 38 seconds left. The senior said last year’s loss in the VHSL semifinal game gave her the drive she needed to cap off her last year with a championship.
“I was really nervous,” Kane said about her last two free throws. “I was really surprised I made them.”
Gate City didn’t go down without a fight. Head Coach Kelly Houseright said she was proud of the fight her girls displayed against Mason. Houseright said when her team was down 21-9 in the game they never gave up.
“We fought and battled but we just ran out of time,” she said.
LaBryan Thomas said Gate City really gave his team a run. Gate City played Mason physical to the last whistle even managing to get Bull Run District Player of the Year Stephanie Cheney to foul out with four minutes left in the game. Thomas said the Blue Devils are a scrappy team that didn’t quit.
“Had it been a few more minutes on the clock things might have been different,” Thomas said.
Thomas said his team played great defense throughout the game, especially his defensive leader Krista Kelly. He said all season it’s been her job to face up the opposing team’s best player and Saturday’s game against Gate City was no different.
“She’s tough,” Thomas said. “Tonight she worked hard and I’m so proud of her.”
With Cheney on the bench, the Lady Mustangs got help from Katie Goodwin and Ashley Alexander. Goodwin, a freshman, grabbed 11-rebounds and scored 6-points in the game off the bench and Alexander added 11-points and grabbed the last rebound of the game.
“I was so nervous but I kept thinking this is my first state championship game,” Alexander said.
In storybook fashion, Kane gets to end her high school career on a high note winning a state championship. She said the game was tough but the outcome was what she wanted since last season.
“It feels awesome,” Kane said. “It feels great to end the season this way.”
Before fouling out late in the fourth quarter, Cheney scored 10-points and grabbed 11-rebounds. Kane finished with a team high 16-points and fellow senior Leah Roth scored 4-points.