Mason Basketball Drops 2 of 3 to Start Season

After beating neighbor Marshall High School 60-49 in convincing fashion, the George Mason High School basketball team dropped two tough games last week against Loudoun County and Broad Run.

The Mustangs were soundly beaten by Loudoun in a 67-52 loss on Thursday before dropping an overtime 66-62 heartbreaker against Broad Run the following evening.

In their first home game, the Mustangs played a solid game against a tough Marshall team. Senior Joel Chandler and junior Jordan Cheney led the way combining for 27 of the team’s 46 rebounds. Cheney also led the Mustangs in scoring, dropping 18 points en route to his first double-double of the winter while still asserting himself on the defensive side. He held Marshall’s 6’9″ center Will Simonton in check in addition to drawing some key early fouls on the Statesmen starting center.

841Sports_masonbasketball.jpg“Jordan knows how to rise to the challenge when there’s another good center on the floor. He always seems to play better,” noted head coach Chris Capannola.

Junior Jamal Mclean had one of the most productive nights of his career, adding 14 points including a perfect showing from beyond the three point line. He was 3-3 from three point range, and 4-8 overall from the field.

Seniors Anthony Andrianarison and Josh Brew quietly had good games in the season opener, playing very active defense and taking on leadership roles. Andrianarison scored a modest 4 points in addition to grabbing eight rebounds in the win.

“It was a real good way to start out,” said Capannola.

Two days removed from their first win of the season, the Mustangs experienced their first loss of the season in an away game against Loudoun County. The game started out very competitive before the Raiders went on a demoralizing 12-0 scoring run. The run began late in the second half when the home team hit three consecutive shots including a three pointer right before halftime, and then stayed on at the start of the third quarter, scoring the first five points of the half. The Mustangs had a whopping 17 turnovers in the game, many of which quickly led to easy buckets for the Raiders. A total of 19 team rebounds was the other major key to the game, less than half the number the Mustangs pulled down on Tuesday.

Capannola gave credit to Loudoun for earning the win, acknowledging the team’s outstanding effort and aggressiveness but still expressed his frustration with his own team.

“We really haven’t found our rhythm yet,” Capannola said. “Our guards made lazy passes and let [Loudoun] get steals in bunches.”

The Raiders played tenacious defense all night, crippling almost every phase of the Mustang’s game. They keyed on the sharp shooting McLean, holding him to six points and no rebounds.

Chandler and Cheney, the team’s best rebounders were limited to just 6 and 4 boards respectively; a fraction of the rebounds they pulled down just two nights prior. The two were also held to 10 points a piece offensively, but did finish the game first and second on the team in assists.

After the 12-0 run the Mustangs were never able to spark a comeback, losing by a final score of 67-52.

The following night, Mason dropped another game to AA Broad Run in a seesaw contest which needed overtime to be decided. Everything went wrong in the first quarter for the Mustangs as Broad Run jumped to a startling 21-10 first quarter lead before settling down as the game went on. Chandler missed his first ten field goals and Cheney found himself in early foul trouble, leaving Mason searching for answers.

Andrianarison was exactly the answer they were looking for, scoring an astounding 26 points. He went 12-15 from the field, using his extraordinary athleticism to create fast breaks on transitions to get easy layups. Andrianarison also added six rebounds and three steals.

“Anthony has very good quick hands and he’s always wanting to sprint the floor,” commented Capannola. “He’s great in transitions, and we were able to push the ball to him [on Friday].”

Mason managed to overcome the 11 point first quarter deficit and had the lead late in the game thanks to 5-7 shooting from Chandler after his 0-10 start. However, the team committed four turnovers and missed five free throws in the last two minutes of regulation to let Broad Run even things up to send it into overtime. The Spartans stayed hot in the four minute overtime period, scoring the first six points and not looking back. Broad Run won the game 66-62.

The Mustangs looked to even their record to 2-2 in a game against Briar Woods this Wednesday at home. Results were too late for press time.