by Matt Delaney
Adjusting to the ups and downs of varsity competition continues to be the focal point for George Mason’s boys basketball team as they got a rousing 71-56 victory over Warren County High School on Dec. 19 which was preceded by a 55-49 letdown loss to Central High School four days earlier.
The Mustangs established their control over Warren County early and often, but failed to knock them out completely throughout the game. A quick 14-4 lead appeared to signal a rout, but the Wildcats climbed back in it due to sharpshooting to make it 30-21 midway through the second.
A 36-26 halftime lead ballooned to 49-32 advantage for the Mustangs thanks to sophomore Max Ashton’s hot streak from long range and junior forward Tim Andrianarison’s ability to find the open man. Still, Mason relaxed and let Warren County hold onto hope when they scored 14 of the next 16 points to chop the Mustang lead to 51-46 by the beginning of the fourth quarter.
“Every team has their runs, but we just try to keep our composure and ride it out,” Andrianarison said. “[Head] coach [Chris] Capannola does a good job of calling timeouts and telling us what to do in times like that.”
In the final frame the Mustangs outscored the Wildcats 20-10 to earn their fourth win of the year. Ashton and sophomore forward Hollman Smith led the way again with 27 and 24 points, respectively. Andrianarison followed with 10 points, six rebounds and four assists while senior forward Dustin Green also made his mark with four points, seven rebounds and five assists.
Facing Central on the road the week prior, Mason experienced their first true disappointment of the season. After the overtime win over Pope John Paul the Great Catholic High School last Tuesday, the Mustangs came out flat against the Falcons and never established their presence on the court.
Central moved freely in their offensive sets and warded off whatever resistance Mason put up, eventually earning the Falcons their first win against the Mustangs since the 2013-2014 season.
“It was a real slap in the face,” Capannola said. “Long bus ride, knowing [Central’s] no good, I know it was in their heads, ‘Oh, we’ll turn it on,’ – doesn’t work that way. I’m glad we played so poorly and lost [because] it was a great lesson.”
The Mustangs played a road game against Broad Run High School on Wednesday, but results of the game were not available at press time. They play in the Joe Cascio Holiday Classic next week at Falls Church High School.