In a packed Mustang Gymnasium, the George Mason High School varsity boys basketball team overcame a horrendous first-half shooting effort, staging a furious rally and storming back from a 15-point halftime deficit to come within six points of tying the state’s No. 1 team Friday night.
Though Madison County High School (13-0), the defending Region B and Bull Run District champions, ultimately pulled out a 61-49 win, the Mustangs’ best effort of the season proved them capable of nearly upsetting the high-flying, star-studded Mountaineers.
“It feels like we let this one get away,” Mason Head Coach Chris Capannola said. “I don’t know what our mind set was but we played like we needed to play. These guys believed they could win and all we had to do was shoot a decent percentage and we would have won this game.”
With 1:07 to play, Mason senior Ben Stewart cut the Madison lead to six, but after a quick timeout, Mountaineer senior Casey Campbell came off an inbounds pass to cement the victory with a wide-open layup.
Madison opened up a 32-17 lead at halftime thanks to 14 points by senior Logan Terrell, who was a near-perfect 7-for-8 from the field at the break. Despite holding Madison to zero points for the first 3:10 of play, Madison broke open a 14-11 game with an 18-6 run in the second quarter behind a dominating display in the paint and some cold shooting by the Mustangs.
Mason senior Aaron Young was the lone deep threat for Capannola’s unit, who shot 5-for-20 from beyond the arc. All five came from Young, who finished with 15 points.
The Mustangs shot 6-for-26 from the field in the first half alone, but nearly overcame a stagnant first 16 minutes to upset VirginiaPreps.com’s top-ranked squad.
“We had a bunch of good looks but we just couldn’t convert one,” Capannola said.
Terrell led all scorers with 20 while senior David Falk added 19, including a tomahawk, one-handed slam that brought the house down and even had some Mason fans bowing in respect.
The Mustangs (6-9, 1-1) now turn their attention to rival Clarke County (8-5, 2-0), winners of three straight including a 63-48 victory over Manassas Park, in a battle between the two squads that should battle for second place in the district.