Seniors Break Records in Mustangs Season Finale

MASON BASKETBALL’S SENIORS, with record-setters Max Ashton (fourth from right) and Hollman Smith (third from right). (Photo: Carol Sly)

A double-dose of history was made during George Mason High School’s boys basketball team’s regular season finale when senior forward Hollman Smith broke 1,000 career points and senior guard Max Ashton set Mason’s new all-time scoring record.

With the backdrop of a packed crowd and longtime Bull Run District rival Clarke County High School in the building, Smith and Ashton put on a show for the ages. A straightaway three midway through the third quarter gave Smith his moment in the sun when he crossed the 1,000 point mark. Not to be outdone, Ashton gathered an offensive rebound and put it back a quarter later for him to break Mason alum Robert Tartt’s (‘16) 1,196 point school record. With a 64-33 win over Clarke and a 10-0 district record, it’s safe to say it was a good night for the Mustangs.

“I kinda knew it would come sometime this season so I didn’t rush anything, but it was awesome to get it in front of the senior night crowd so it was pretty fun,” Smith said. Mason head coach Chris Capannola added, “There had been two in the history of this school that had made 1,000, and we have two on same team, so we’ve doubled the population of 1,000-ville, or whatever you wanna call it, this year. To have Hollman get it and Max get the all-time in the same game, it’s unheard of.”

The one-two punch of milestone moments for Mason made what was an otherwise uncompetitive game interesting. Clarke County’s only lead of the night came when they scored the game’s opening bucket. After that, it was all Mason. The Mustangs ended the first quarter up 17-8 and opened the second quarter with an 11-0 run, fueled by Smith, Ashton and senior guard Jay Nesson. Sophomore guard Deven Martino hit an open shot from beyond the arc and sophomore guard Ryan Fletchall sank his own midrange jumper to go into halftime 33-10.

Mason was never threatened following the break, so the whole crowd was on record-watch. Smith drove to basket for two to go up 39-17 had him on the verge of 1,000 points. The next possession he nailed his head-on three-pointer and the stands burst into cheers. Ashton hit an elbow three from the left-side and excitement began to swell once again. After hitting 2-of-3 from the line, Ashton was a bucket away from breaking the record. He followed up a missed shot with a gritty putback to seal and send the crowd into another frenzy.

Now it’s on to the postseason, and with tighter rotations expected, the whole team needs to shift its attitude. Reserves will need to do their part in getting starters up to speed, while starters need to understand their limitations and how to get around them.

“We gotta continue to work defensively — we’re still small,” Capannola added. “We’re going to start seeing some pressure in the postseason, which we haven’t seen in the Bull Run. Our second five has got to press our first five all practice to get ready for these region teams.”

The Mustangs will play the winner of the lower-seeded winner this Saturday, Feb. 9