George Mason’s varsity boys basketball team lost the final regular season game of the 2016 portion of their schedule 75-70 in a competitive road contest against non-conference opponent Broad Run High School on Dec. 21.
It was yet another test for Mason, whose overall record stands at 4-3 and non-conference record at 2-2. But despite the hurdles they had to overcome and the loss, the Mustangs held their own throughout the entire contest. A strong start gave Mason a 21-14 lead by the end of the first. But a deficiency in rebounds – especially on the offensive glass – worked against the Mustangs and opened the door for the Broad Run to outscore Mason 17-7 and go into halftime up 31-28.
“They got 14 offensive rebounds to our five,” head coach Chris Capannola wrote. “They had a ton [on the night] and that was really the difference in the game.”
Scoring picked up majorly in the second half when the Mustangs tallied 23 points to Broad Run’s 26. The Mustangs eventually saw themselves trailing by eight, but a strong run capped off by a senior Dustin Green’s drive to the hoop brought Mason within two at 68-66, but the team couldn’t complete the comeback.
“We really battled Broad Run, and were in it ‘til the end,” Capannola added. “We needed them to miss a few free throws toward the end and we needed to one more bucket to fall, but it didn’t happen.”
Even with the loss, positives sprang up from the experience. Mason capably navigated Broad Run’s half-court trapping defense without committing a turnover on the night. Statistical leaders included sophomores guard Max Ashton with 26 points and forward Hollman Smith with 21 – putting Ashton and Smith’s point per game averages at 23 and 19.6, respectively, the highest averages in Capannola’s 15 years with Mason.
Mason turns their attention to the Joe Cascio Holiday Classic at Falls Church High School, which started on Wednesday, Dec. 28. Results of the opening round were not available at press time.