Last-Second Whiff Leaves Mustangs with Close Loss

By Caitlin Butler

SENIOR FORWARD Hunter Broxson is one of the lone big men for Mason’s squad this season. He’s had some help on the boards from more active guard play, but the lack of true reinforcements down low has been an uphill battle for the Mustangs all season. (Photo: Carol Sly)

Squandering the final seconds of the game left George Mason High School’s boys basketball team just a bucket short in its 53-52 loss to William Monroe High School last Friday.

On their last possession with seven seconds remaining on the clock, the Mustangs couldn’t get a shot off. Mason had a play in mind but the execution to finish it wasn’t there.

It happened to be a recurring theme on a somewhat listless night for the home team.

“Our energy from the get-go wasn’t good. We were lucky to have a lead at halftime because we just weren’t engaged from the tip. It was odd with no [junior varsity] game and a 6:30 start is different and it definitely hampered us” said Mason head coach Michael Gilroy.

The Mustangs led William Monroe throughout the first and second quarters and seemed to mask their lack of spunk early on both sides of the court.

Mason set the tone with an 11-6 first quarter lead that was driven by crisp play and continued to maintain their advantage in the second with a last minute three pointer by junior guard Devin Martino, boosting the Mustangs to a three-possession edge at 28-21 when halftime rolled around.

But a juice-less Mason made its appearance in the third quarter and allowed the visiting Dragons to overcome them on the scoreboard.

The Mustangs, however, were able to draw even with William Monroe at 39 apiece thanks to a late three-point bucket from the junior guard Jack Calabrese from distance.

Mason’s spirit for the game was wearing down as the fourth quarter wore on.

Junior guard Bobby Asel fought through the slump to keep the Mustangs alive with two back-to-back buckets — one of those being a three — to put Mason down one. His bulldog mentality helped create a small spark for the Falls Church locals. And after William Monroe missed its two foul shots with seconds to play, the Mustangs’ window for victory was propped back open.

Despite the golden opportunity for redemption, Mason failed to get a shot off in its final possession. The Mustangs now maintain a 10-9 record heading into their final games of the season

Mason was on the road at Broad Run High School last night, but results weren’t available by press time. The Mustangs will return back home this Friday to host Warren County High School with a tip off scheduled at 7:30 p.m.