by Matt Delaney
George Mason’s varsity boys basketball team got back in the groove with a 65-53 win against William Monroe High School on Jan. 29 and followed it up by defeating Warren County High School 62-41 on Feb. 1.
After four days off from school, players would be expected to show some rust on the court. Mason didn’t bolt out of the gate but found their stride in the second half against William Monroe thanks to planned practices over the snow days.
“We were the only team that could get inside the gym and that’s a huge advantage,” senior guard D’Montae Noble said.
The Mustangs had trouble harmonizing in the first half. They controlled the game well at times, then allowed the Dragons to climb back and hamper Mason’s momentum. Going into halftime Mason was up 32-23 but it could’ve been more.
“This is one of the first games where nobody shot the ball well,” head coach Chris Capannola said.
Midway through the third quarter William Monroe cut the lead to 42-40. Mason responded by going on an 11-1 run to finish the quarter up 53-41. Senior forward Robert Tartt’s dunk to start the fourth quarter secured the lead for Mason and left William Monroe deflated.
Tartt tallied 24 points and nine rebounds on the night while senior guard Elliot Mercado scored 12 points and led with five assists.
A solid test to get back on track made way for Mason’s usual dominance when they bludgeoned Warren County Monday in Falls Church.
Mason held an 11-2 lead barely three minutes into the game and bombarded Warren County from all angles of the court. By the start of the second, the Mustangs led 21-5 and going into halftime they nearly doubled their score when they improved to 39-11.
Tartt achieved a significant milestone in the victory when he recorded 1,000 career points on Mason’s basketball team with a put-back late in the third quarter. The game was paused for a moment to recognize the accomplishment while Tartt gave the ball to his parents in the stands.
The Mustangs took a trip to Rappahannock County High School on Wednesday, Feb. 3, but results were not available at press time.