Coming off their loss to Thomas Jefferson on the final day of the Pohanka Automotive Chantilly High School Holiday Tournament, George Mason High School boys varsity basketball coach Chris Capannola threw down the gauntlet. His team seem lackadaisical, almost as if they didn't want to be on the court during their holiday break. So when his team returned to action on the road against Potomac Falls on Monday, Capanolla was waiting to see if his team answered the bell.
He was pleased to find that the effort was not a problem on Monday — shooting, however, was. The Mustangs were cold for most of the night and dropped a 58-52 decision to Potomac Falls.
Joel Chandler paced Mason with a team-high 18 points, nearly matched by 17 from Mike Straub, but it was not enough to pull off the victory on the road.
“We played really hard Monday night and battled them throughout the game,” Capannola said. “I was pleased with or effort, but we shot very poorly … They got some easy transition baskets off our turnovers and we missed too many shots. That was the difference.”
Capannola also pointed to a disparity in free throws as another contributing factor to the loss. Mason took four free throws on the night, while Potomac Falls shot 18. A 50-percent free-throw percentage for the game by Potomac Falls allowed the Mustangs to remain in striking distance, but Mason was never able to capitalize.
Potomac Falls took advantage of the absence of Mason center Jordan Cheney and exploited the lack of interior size for the Mustangs. The hole should be plugged soon however, as Cheney is set to return to the lineup Wednesday, Jan. 9 for the Mustangs' Bull Run District opener against Manassas Park. Mason also received a boost when senior Jake Johnson returned to the lineup on Monday, though he did not score in a limited role. Anthony Andrianarison (nine points), Alex Prewitt (six) and Mike Schwengel (two) rounded out the scoring on Monday for the Mustangs.
Mason enters district play with a record of 3-8, though most of their pre-district games came against AA and AAA schools. Results of Wednesday's game with Manassas Park was not available at press time.