The Mason girls basketball team ended their season by a single point to Buffalo Gap in the state semifinal game on Tuesday, March 6, after leading by six points in the last quarter.
“It definitely was disappointing that we lost so close to the end,” senior forward Jenna Short said. ”We wanted redemption on them… we were up by six until they came back and beat us at the end.”
The Mustangs faced the Bisons two weeks prior in the regional championship game and lost by three points. Despite their loss, the girls basketball team (20-7), who finished in the state quarterfinals last year, has a lot of accomplishments to celebrate.
“Any time you can win 20 games in a season, that’s always pretty incredible,” head coach Michael Gilroy said. “To win three district championships three years in a row with the same group, to get to regionals, to qualify for back-to-back state tournaments, it’s all a pretty big accomplishment.”
The Mustangs’ dominance in the regular season helped bring them closer together and encouraged them to work even harder.
“We were super strong,” Short said. “If a team beat us one time, they never beat us again. We had a really close bond this year, so winning one game, even if we weren’t playing a very good team, was always really fun.”
With seven seniors leaving this year, the team is going to have some adjustments to make next season. Two of the seniors leaving, Nicole Bloomgarden and Kaylee Hirsch, were named first team all-region.
“They’ve stuck through this thing,” said Gilroy of the seniors. “They’ve been through every single game and they’ve put in so much work… and all credit goes to them, they’ve kept this thing going.”
The team will experience some changes come next year’s season, but Coach Gilroy is eager to rebuild the team and keep their progress going after these two consecutive years making it to the state tournament. Short believes others will step up and continue the team’s success.
“Last year we graduated two seniors… and I feel like this year other people just had to step up and fill the spaces of who graduated,” Short said. “Next year again, girls will just have to fill the gaps of the graduated seniors.”
Bloomgarden notes the bittersweet ending to the successful four-month season. “I haven’t wrapped my head around it,” senior guard Nicole Bloomgarden said. “I feel like next winter I’m going to be suited up again.”
Nevertheless, Gilroy and the girls left the season proud of their accomplishments and how far they came this season.
“All kudos goes to the girls,” Coach Gilroy said. “They work hard every day and they put up with my crazy self, so that in its own right is pretty amazing.”
(GMHS Class of '18; Lasso Staff 2015-18)
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