Mustangs Battle Appomattox County in Regional Playoff Action Tonight
The Mustangs were looking for a chance to redeem themselves. And they did.
The George Mason High School boys basketball team captured the Bull Run district championship, beating Clarke County, their main rival for the season, in the title game last Friday.
“The win felt like validation, and it proved that we could beat anybody anywhere,” said Mason coach Chris Capannola, the Bull Run District coach of the year. “We have 18 wins, and none of those came by accident.”
Earlier this month, the Mustangs lost the Bull Run regular season title and the chance to host the district tournament, dropping a one-game playoff to Clarke, 41-34.
“The pressure was squarely on them, they were the number one-seeded and playing at home, and they were supposed to win,” Capannola said. “We knew if we played well we could get them.”
This time around, once the Mustangs took the lead, they never looked back. Clarke fought hard for the game, but Mason shut down the Eagle’s main three-pointer shooter, Ethan Emmart.
Capannola alternated the players that were guarding Emmart, frustrating their opponent.
“We played possibly our best defensive game of the season, and we made our shots, which is a great combination,” Capannola said. “We played like we knew we were better.”
Mason’s offense was equally effective. Junior Jeremy Stewart, first-team Bull Run All-District, led the team with 19 points while classmate Nate Ogle, also first-team Bull Run, contributed 17 points, a team-high eight rebounds, three steals and two blocks.
Mustang junior Noel Obusan, second team All-District, didn’t have a point, but was a key offensive player in the second half, creating opportunities for the other players to score, finishing with six assists and two rebounds. Along with Obusan, junior Phillipe Griffiths also was selected for the second team Bull Run All-District.
The Mustangs return to the home court tonight to play Appomattox County High School in the Region B quaterfinals at 6 p.m.
“The guys know it is do or die from here on out every game so there is no looking ahead,” Capannola said. “We can’t afford to play poorly or without emotion or intensity, because every team we play the rest of the season can end our season, and vice versa.”