Veteran leadership helped George Mason High School’s boys basketball team eke out two tough victories in the past week. The Mustangs won the Bull Run District tournament with a 67-54 victory over William Monroe High School last Thursday. Then they bounced Randolph-Henry High School out of the Region B tournament with a 56-44 win Tuesday.
Senior guard Noel Obusan Jr., who scored 20 points in the win over the Dragons, was named Bull Run District player of the year after the game against William Monroe. Coach Chris Capannola received coach of the year honors.
“I think it’s amazing,” Obusan said. “It’s a big shout-out to the point guards. I got this [trophy] and all I do is pass.”
Obusan was also named to the all-district first team, as was senior forward Nate Ogle, who is currently the Mustang leading scorer with 12.3 points per game. Senior guard/forward Philippe Griffiths, who was the lead Mustang scorer earlier in the season and the defensive focus for many of the team’s opponents this season, was honored with a second team placement. Obusan, along with senior guard Eion Oosterbaan, have stepped in during games where Griffiths’ scoring has been contained.
“We are proud of him because he played good for the team,” Noel Obusan Sr. said of his son. “He’s not greedy,” Jocelyn Obusan, Noel’s mother, said. “When someone else gets to score he’s so proud of it.” Obusan is the third leading scorer on the team.
Against the Dragons, Oosterbaan scored 14 points and Ogle scored 13 points, while Griffiths was held to two points.
In the quarterfinals of the Region B tournament, Griffiths was able to find his shot as he scored 14 points. Six of those points came in the first quarter and helped the Mustangs to a 17-12 lead. The Mustangs extended that lead to 27-19 by the end of the half that culminated with a two-point buzzer beater from Ogle. After a seven point run by the Mustangs to open the third quarter, Randolph-Henry called a time-out, went on a 13-2 run and narrowed George Mason’s lead to 39-35.The Mustangs called a timeout towards the end of Randolph-Henry’s run, regained composure and went on a 12-0 run to end the quarter. The Statesmen came within 10 points once during the fourth quarter, but the Mustangs maintained their poise and came out with the win.
“It was good going into regionals to play a team like this,” Griffiths said, “because if we can gut out a win against a team this good, we can handle any level of competition.” Capannola called the Mustangs’ ability to regain and maintain composure “veteran stuff.”
Obusan scored 14 points against the Statesmen, and Ogle added 10 points.
The Mustangs move on to the semifinal round of the Region B tournament on Thursday, facing Stuarts Draft High School.