by Liz Lizama
The George Mason High School varsity boys basketball team remains undefeated after a 60-45 win against Strasburg High School at home last Thursday.
This was a key game for both teams as George Mason came in with a 6-0 record and Strasburg 5-0.
“They always play good fundamental man-to-man defense, and we need to be much better running our offense to get good shots,” said Mason head coach Chris Capannola of their opponents ahead of the game.
Mason lead early on with the first quarter ending 17-9. While Mason held a strong lead in the second quarter at 31-14, Strasburg managed to shorten the lead and end the half at 31-21.
During the third quarter, Strasburg picked up 12 more points and held their defense allowing Mason to only score two points. The game was then tied at 33 until Mason hit a 17-0 run, bringing the score up to 50-33. Mason sealed the game from there and maintained the lead, finally ending with a 15-point lead.
Mason junior forward Robert Tartt led the team with 16 points, followed by junior guards Elliot Mercado with 13 points and Josh Allen with 10 points.
In the last two matches against Luray and Rappahannock County, Capannola expressed concern with the team’s outside shots, as Mason only scored one three-pointer in each game.
On Thursday, the team made four of six three-point shots, with Allen scoring two, Mercado with one and junior guard Devin Thomas also with one.
“The last two games combined we were 2-31 from three, so I was glad to see the shot selection improve and it was nice to knock a couple of them down,” Capannola said. “Overall, we were 24-49 from the field and 8-12 from the free throw line, both big improvements over the last couple of games. We also had 15 steals as a team and forced the tempo in the second half.”
With a holiday tournament ahead of them, Capannola is focused on improving the team’s offensive play. “We still aren’t real good in our half court offense. But again, if we get turnovers and fast break points, that’s where we are at our best,” he said.