Briar Woods battled to the best of its abilities, rallying from eight points down on the road at halftime, but the Mustangs would not be denied their second win of the season, claiming the contest in overtime, 70-67.
Mason junior Joel Chandler scored a season-high 26 points in his third game of the season after returning from a broken wrist sustained prior to the start of the Mustangs' 2007-08 campaign. None of those points were bigger than the three that knotted the score at 54 and sent the match to overtime.
The Mustangs drew up a play for senior guard Mike Schwengel to take the shot, but defenders smothered the sweet-shooting point guard as soon as he touched the ball. Schwengel passed it off to Chandler who drained a fadeaway three at the buzzer with several defenders hounding him.
“I don't even know if he could see the rim,” Mason Head Coach Chris Capannola said.
After Chandler sent the game to overtime, Mason took over and never looked back, going up by double digits after two minutes. A last second three-pointer by Briar Woods brought the final deficit down from six points to three.
Schwengel added 18 points, nine of those from the foul line, while senior Mike Straub hit three first-half three-pointers to account for nine of his 13 points on the night.
“Schwengel was outstanding,” Capannola said. “He has played very well all season, especially defensively.”
Despite the positive end result, the win came at a cost to the Mustangs (2-5) who lost senior Tim Brooks to an ankle injury. Brooks' departure left Mason's already depleted roster with just two healthy substitutes for the remainder of the contest, making the win in the extra frame all the more impressive.
For the Mustangs, the proverbial injury bug must look like Mothra, the titanic insect that grappled with Gozilla. Brooks joins Tony Armstrong (out for the year with a torn ACL), Andrew Lieber (shoulder) Jake Johnson (hip flexor), Josh Brew (concussion), Jordan Cheney (knee) on the list of sidelined Mustangs. The latter three are out until at least January. After a third-quarter technical foul on Straub led Capannola to sit him for the remainder of the game and Alex Prewitt fouled out in the fourth quarter, Mason finished regulation and played all of overtime with just five players.
“It was like a rec game,” Capannola joked.
The Mustangs next suit up for the Chantilly Holiday Tournament this Thursday, Dec. 27 at 6:45 p.m. Mason opens the tournament, which also features Riverbend and host Chantilly, against Falls Church High School. The Mustangs will then play at either 11:45 a.m. or 5 p.m. the next day.