Eagles Bump Mustangs from District Hoops Tourney

Mason sophomore guard Josh Allen attempts to drive into the lane, flanked by two Eagles defenders, senior guards Josh Gray and Morgan Warfield. The Mustangs beat the Eagles twice during the regular season, lost to them in the district playoffs and play them again at home next week to open the Conference 35 playoffs. (Photo: Drew Costley)

By Drew Costley

George Mason High School’s boys varsity basketball team was eliminated from the Bull Run District tournament in the opening round by Clarke County High School on Monday in a 53-33 defeat. The Mustangs’ loss was their second straight by double digits – they lost 54-38 to Warren County High School on Friday.

The Clarke County Eagles were up 12-10 after a first quarter in which both teams traded scores throughout the period. Eagles senior guard Josh Gray scored the first basket of the second quarter to go up 14-10 and Mustang sophomore forward Robert Tartt hit a basket to bring the score to 14-12. But the Mustangs were held scoreless for the rest of the second quarter while the Eagles went on a 12-point run, topped off by a rebounded tip-in by Eagles senior center Colton Chrane at the end of the half.

“We only scored 12 first-half [points] in our house; that’s not going to win any games,” Tartt said. He was the leading scorer on either team with 16 points. The Mustangs play the Eagles next Monday at home in the opening round of the Conference 35 tournament.

“We just need to work on bringing 110 percent every time we play. … It’s not like we can’t beat them,” Tartt said. “We went to their house and beat them by eight [or] 10 points. They come here and we just weren’t ready to play. We can’t do that. We have to come out here ready to play every single night.”

Junior guard Sean McDonald led the Eagles in scoring with 15 points and was followed by senior guard Morgan Warfield with 14 points. Chrane added 10 points to Eagles’ tally.

“Eight really bad quarters in a row in the last 72 hours. … It’s – it’s disturbing – I guess that’s one way to put it,” said Mason Head Coach Chris Capannola.

The Mustangs’ 16-point loss to the Warren County Wildcats was their second loss to a district opponent at home and third loss at home to anyone all season. Both teams were tied at 15 in the middle of the second quarter when the Wildcats went on a 10-4 run to finish out the first half up 25-19.

The Wildcats got ahead by as much as 10 by the middle of the third quarter, but the Mustangs inched back into the game throughout the rest of that period. Junior guard Marcus Zack-Russell hit a 3-pointer – the first score of the fourth quarter – to get the Mustangs within five points of the lead.

But Warren County answered George Mason’s buckets with scores of its own and went on a 13-2 run to close out the game.

“I thought that was one of the gutsiest performances that we’ve had all year,” said Warren County Head Coach Vernon Mathews. “So I was really proud of my team.”

Wildcats senior guard Jontae Rollins led all scorers with 17 points against the Mustangs and was followed by senior guard Casey Stewart who scored 16 points. Senior forward Blake Steele added 10 points to the Wildcats’ tally. Tartt and sophomore center Douglas Bossart led the Mustangs with 10 points apiece against the Wildcats.

Before this duo of double digit losses, the Mustangs were on the winning side of a 73-47 blowout against Madison County High School last Wednesday.