By Drew Costley
George Mason High School’s varsity boys basketball team beat three district rivals at home in the past week and lost to one on the road. The Mustangs (4-1) beat William Monroe High School 50-46 last Wednesday.
The Mustangs were ahead by two points in the last minute of the game when junior forward George deMars grabbed a rebound and was fouled by a Dragons’ player. He knocked down two free throws to give the Mustangs a four-point lead. Head Coach Chris Capannola said the matchup against the Dragons was a really tense game.
“Their first five is really good – really athletic kids, really good shooters,” Capannola said. “And we knew we had to get out on those kids on the shots. We played really, really physical defense for the first time all year against them.”
Sophomore forward Robert Tartt and sophomore guards Eliot Mercado and Josh Allen scored 13 points apiece against the Dragons. Mercado went eight for eight from the charity stripe and Allen hit three 3-pointers.
“Well, as good as we were against Monroe, we were pretty much that bad against Central,” Capannola said. The Mustangs lost to Central High School 64-54 last Friday.
The team only hit four of the 19 shots they took in the first quarter and went 22 for 62 from the field for the night. Capannola said he counted 13 missed layups by the Mustangs.
“We were just a step slow the whole night defensively,” he said. “Even so, we had the lead with five minutes to go and we just couldn’t put the ball in the basket. The whole effort was a little lacking, which happens with a young team.”
Mercado led the Mustangs in scoring and steals, with 27 points and seven steals against the Falcons. Allen scored 10 points and Tartt added nine.
George Mason’s game against Clarke County High School on Monday was a blowout. The Mustangs beat the Eagles 68-33.
“I don’t think any of us thought we were going to win by 35, but I mean that was awesome,” said junior guard Daniel Donovan. “Now I think we’re really hitting our stride as a team with chemistry and it’s looking really good.”
Capannola said the Mustangs’ “clicked on all cylinders” against the Eagles.
“Our defense was stifling. We played a zone, which we don’t do too much,” Capannola said. “We pressed them and got a lot of huge buckets. We got a lot of shots, a lot of easy runouts. We made all our free throws. We really dominated in every aspect.”
Tartt, Allen, and Mercado led the Mustangs in scoring with 16 points each against the Eagles. Allen hit four of his six three-point attempts.
The Mustangs sprinted out to a big lead against Rappahannock County High School in their 73-53 victory on Tuesday and never looked back. They ended the first quarter with a 29-9 lead and extended that lead to much more by the end of the first half.
Allen caught a pass from sophomore guard D’Montae Noble in the final seconds of the second quarter and hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to put the Mustangs ahead 50-19.
“We came out and we started off pretty well,” said Douglas Bossart, a sophomore center for the Mustangs who led the team in scoring with 11 points. “The most important thing is we got everyone minutes and everyone played well.”
Allen scored 10 points against the Panthers; Mercado, senior guard Wesley Coupard, and two other Mustangs added nine points apiece to the Mustangs’ tally.
The Mustangs play Strasburg High School at Strasburg tomorrow night in their final regular season game of the year.