Lesley Harvey goes through the same pregame rituals before each Robinson girls basketball game. The senior was well prepared last night, scoring eight points and grabbing a team-high 11 rebounds as the Rams defeated No. 5 Mount Vernon, 48-44, before around 1,000 in Alexandria.

Harvey, a 5-foot-10 forward, said she is one of several Robinson players who is superstitious. Even Coach Dwight Trimmer, clad in a brightly colored sweater last night, wears a good luck charm. The Rams also bring a lucky stuffed animal to their games.

"I am so superstitious that I have to eat the same meal before a game, and I have to play the same video game, and I cannot leave until I win it," Harvey said. "I am so superstitious. But it works."

Last night's victory capped an impressive run by the third-ranked Rams (12-1) past some of Virginia's top teams. So far this season they have beaten No. 4 Oakton, No. 5 Mount Vernon, No. 10 West Springfield and No. 20 Chantilly. Their only loss was to Lourdes (Fla.) in a holiday tournament in Florida.

"Those teams were all teams that were out to get us this year," Harvey said. "But we also know that any of those teams can beat us if we play them again. We got to the state final last year, and we know what it takes. But there are some good teams [in Northern Virginia]."

Despite a slow start last night, Mount Vernon (9-4) certainly is one of them. Robinson led, 37-17, early in the third quarter following a free throw by senior Kate Jarvis (team-high 12 points). To that point, Mount Vernon had made only 5 of 22 field goals (23 percent).

But the Majors then went on a 27-10 run, culminating with a long field goal by sophomore Lauren Troupe that pulled Mount Vernon to within 47-44 with 1 minute 1 second to play. But the Majors missed their next two shots, and Jarvis added a free throw for the final margin.

Last night marked the first regular season meeting between Robinson and Mount Vernon in at least eight years.

"Mount Vernon has a great team, and we wanted to play them in the regular season this year," Trimmer said. "They were at the top of my wish list when I submitted my proposed schedule and we were on the top of theirs. I am glad we were able to play."

The Majors were led by Troupe, who had 11 points, and junior guard Anesia Smith, who added 10. Mount Vernon has won at least 18 games in each of the past five seasons under Coach Kenny Farmer. When Farmer was hired from West Potomac in 1993, Mount Vernon had won a total of five games in three years.