Comets maintain success and ambition after last year’s state runner-up finish

Sophomore Madie Parrish high-fives freshman Anna Habra, the only new addition to Mason girls varsity basketball, during their 57-34 victory over Fairfield on January 4.

Sean Speidel | The Chronicle

The Mason girls’ basketball team may have graduated an All-American, but their standard of success has not changed.

The Comets returned all but one of their players from last season’s state runner-up team. Kyla Oldacre, now playing at the University of Miami, was the team’s lone graduating senior.

The Comets have continued their reputation as one of the premier teams in Ohio with a 12-1 record, including two victories over MaxPreps’ number one team in the state (as of January 12), Princeton. 

Head coach Rob Matula said that the team has maintained its identity as a strong defensive team despite losing Oldacre, a two-time GMC defensive player of the year, and that has allowed them to play at a high level.

“We still hang our hat on being defensive-oriented, ” Matula said. “Obviously losing a McDonald’s All-American, we had to figure out some different ways of getting everybody involved, but it’s going well.”

After only having one senior last season, the Comets are led by 7 seniors with a plethora of big-game experience. Senior Gabby Razzano has been a varsity starter since her freshman year, and said the group is well prepared and ready for one more run thanks to their history together.

“We’ve been talking about going to state and winning since fourth grade,” Razzano said. “I think we’re just super focused this season and know that it’s their last time playing together and playing basketball for some of us so just want to get it done.”

After coming within seconds of a state championship last year,  the Comets are playing this season driven by that same end goal to win with the added motivation of avenging their loss. Madie Parrish said that the team caught a glimpse of their objective when Reynoldsburg claimed defeated the Comets last season, and have maintained their team identity and desire to win the second state championship in school history (first was in 2000).

“We know what it takes to get there and we’ve had that feeling of that loss too so we should be hungry and want to get it even more now,” Parrish said. “We have to do the little things when it really matters and even when it doesn’t just make sure you’re doing your job and sort of staying dialed in, just being the Mason team that we know we are” 

Gabby Razzano’s role has shifted into a more traditional post player in her senior season, averaging 1.1 blocks per game which is up from 0.5 last year.

The team had to adjust some to losing Oldacre, but had the benefit of returning the rest of their team. Players like Parrish and senior Carly Prows, who are both averaging over 13 points per game, stepped into larger roles. 

Parrish said that the team is not focused on any outside noise regarding their chances of making it back to state, and instead are internally motivated to do what it takes to get back there.

“I think it’s funny because everybody asked, ‘Oh are we still going to be good,” Parrish said. “[Kyla] was obviously a big help in the season last year, but we still are all individually good players. And obviously we’re meant to be on the same team together. So it’s not really much of a difference, but it’ll just take more from each of us than it did last year.”

The Comets lone new addition to the varsity lineup is freshman guard Anna Habra. Habra is a starter for the Comets and is averaging 6.9 points per game, 2.3 assists per game and 3.0 steals per game.  Matula said that Habra acclimated fit in with the team dynamics immediately and has helped provide a boost in their lineup.

“I think she’s earned her stripes in regards to being on this team,” Matula said. “It’s always nice to have a player coming in that can give us an advantage.”

Matula said that the team knows they are capable of playing at a high level and have important playoff experience, but needs to continue focusing on the fundamentals  that have allowed the program to be successful in the past.

“I think our ultimate goal is always to put ourselves in a position to make a run in the tournament,” Matula said. “We’d like to advance and have another opportunity (at a state championship) but we also don’t take that for granted.”

Photos by Lily Haller