Making gains with Gaynord

MANASSSAS — With Osbourn’s girls basketball team in the process of pulling off a victory that turned a few heads in the Cedar Run District, the Eagles’ leading scorer couldn’t even turn her head.

Junior guard Stephanie Gaynord, who with 13.6 points per game ranks fifth in the area, is a big reason why the Eagles are in a three-way tie for first at the midpoint of the district schedule. Osbourn (6-10, 2-1) won three games in a five-game stretch earlier this month as Gaynord led the team in scoring each time. But in one of those wins — a 66-62 home triumph over Stonewall Jackson on Jan. 15 — Gaynord had to settle for the 13 points she had in the first three quarters.

“I was on the bench for the whole fourth quarter with a mild concussion,” Gaynord said. “I couldn’t even see the other end of the court. I had to have a teammate [Jennifer Tate] tell me what was going on — in the game and during timeouts.”

The Eagles, tied with Potomac and Stonewall for the district lead, rallied from 11 points down at the half and six down once Gaynord left the game. “It wasn’t just that we won, but that we were able to come back with our leading scorer and top point guard on the bench,” Osbourn coach Barry Sudduth said.

Gaynord, who joined the varsity basketball program late in her freshman year, said she wasn’t surprised by the effort from her teammates. “Everyone’s getting along, there are no cliques or anything on this team,” she said. “And that’s a big reason why we’re playing better.”

The 5-foot-4 Gaynord also averages 3.5 assists, 2.7 steals and 2.3 rebounds. She has played varsity volleyball for two years and will enter her third year on the varsity softball team this spring.

Stephanie and her older brother, Tony, are teammates in yet another sport — bowling. Tony Gaynord, an Osbourn senior, has been admitted early-decision to Virginia Tech.

“We’re on a bowling team together, and it’s very competitive,” said Stephanie, who has earned more than $200 in scholarship money from her bowling exploits. And she didn’t just mean it’s competitive between teams. She’s averaging a 172 and her brother a 173.

An all-area and all-Cardinal District choice as a second baseman, Gaynord says basketball and softball are her two favorite sports. “I haven’t decided which one I want to play in college,” she added. Gaynord hit .321 with 10 RBIs last season, while compiling 31 putouts, 44 assists and a .904 fielding percentage.

Early this basketball season, Osbourn struggled after halftimes. The Eagles wasted a lead against Gar-Field and fell apart in the third quarter against Potomac. The team has made a conscious effort to concentrate on its third quarters, and Gaynord has the talent to help that happen. They may not need her in every fourth quarter, but they’d sure rather have her on the court.

“She helps us with her quickness, with being able to see the floor and dish the ball off when necessary,” Sudduth said. “One of the things she’s learned to do is not to force the issue. She’s learned to pull up and shoot the short jumper if she has to. With her size, she’s just not always going to be able to go in there with all of those trees.”

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