Sports

Mason Boys Hoops Squad Heads to 1st State Tourney Since 2001

For the first time in 10 years, the George Mason High School boys basketball team is headed to the state tournament.

 

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REGION B CHAMPIONS, George Mason kicks off their state tournament run this Saturday. (Photo: Judy Lubnow)

 

For the first time in 10 years, the George Mason High School boys basketball team is headed to the state tournament.

The District and Regional B champion Mustangs start the race for the Virginia title this weekend when state quarterfinal play begins.

The Mustangs captured the regional crown by knocking off top seed Dan River Senior High School, 74-65, in the championship game last Saturday.

“I think winning the Region B championship validates the way we play the game,” coach Chris Capannola said.  “We are a true team, with many very good players that prides itself on sharing the ball and playing excellent defense.”

Mason junior Philippe Griffiths and senior Brandon Alexander led the team with 22 points a piece. The Mustangs started the game strong, opening a big lead midway through the first quarter, 21-10. The Wildcats tried to battle back, but the Mason squad held on for the win.

“We know that even though we are the Region B champs, many people around the state feel we caught Dan River on a bad day, and that we are still an underdog,” Capannola said. “That suits us just fine.”

The win against Dan River was the Mustangs fifth in a row. The last time Mason lost was against Clarke County High School in a one-game playoff for the regular season Bull Run title.

After the loss, the Mustangs and Eagles met twice more with Mason besting Clarke on both occasions– once in the district tournament title game and again when the ‘Stangs ended Clarke’s season to advance to the regional semifinal and clinch a spot in the state tournament.

Mason kicks off their state tournament run this Saturday, when they travel to Robinson Secondary High School to play Middlesex High School at 12:45 p.m.
“Our expectations for Saturday are that we will again be the underdog.  We know that the pressure is on the Middlesex team. Not us.” Capannola said.  “If we shoot the ball the way we did last week and get strong post play again, and we continue to play solid defense and limit our turnovers, I like our chances.”

The winner of Saturday’s game will advance to the Virginia High School League final four, and play the winner of the defending state champ James River-Buchanan and Lee High School game.

The state semifinals will be at VCU Siegel Center on March 10, followed by the championship game on March 12.

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