Sports

Shutting Down the 3-Point Shot Key to James River Win Over Mason

masonfreethrowIn a post-game press conference tonight, defending state champion James River’s coach Mike Goad said it was his team’s deliberate game plan to shut down George Mason High School’s three-point shot game, and it succeeded in holding the Mason Mustangs to one three-pointer in 14 tries en route to a lopsided 67-31 win in the state championship Group A Division 2 semifinal game tonight. James River will face Radford for the state title on Saturday afternoon.

In a post-game press conference tonight, defending state champion James River’s coach Mike Goad said it was his team’s deliberate game plan to shut down George Mason High School’s three-point shot game, and it succeeded in holding the Mason Mustangs to one three-pointer in 14 tries en route to a lopsided 67-31 win in the state championship Group A Division 2 semifinal game tonight. James River will face Radford for the state title on Saturday afternoon.

Mason coach Chris Capannola said following tonight’s game that James River “was the best team in Group A we’ve played this year by far,” and senior Brandon Alexander and junior Jeremy Stewart concurred that James River was a “highly disciplined team” that was able to bottle up Mason’s defense with quickness and their long arms. “They rotated their 2-3 zone defense as well as any team we’ve seen,” Alexander said, and pushed Mason “six or eight inches further out than we’re used to,” Capannola added.

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(Photo: Don Gatz)

“We couldn’t throw the ball in the ocean tonight,” Capannola said. “It’s been three months since we’ve shot like this. Out of the 63 shots we put up, we must have had 10 air balls.” Overall, Mason made only 11 of 63 shots. Stewart said James River’s defense made him get his shots up “too quick,” even though, he conceded, “butterflies” were also a factor in his team’s performance.

James River coach Goad said the key to his team’s success is defense, and that anytime they can hold an opponent to less than 60 points they have a great chance to win.

Mason fell back 9-0 in the first minutes of the game, but then seemed to gain its footing to outscore James River 8-5 in the remainder of the first period. But then the winning Knights went on a 13-4 run opening the second period, hitting three three-pointers the remainder of that period to pull out to a 37-18 halftime lead.

masonbench102Alexander, playing his final game for Mason as a senior, had six points and six rebounds for the Mustangs at halftime, but had no points and no rebounds in the second half. The lone impressive statistic for Mason in the game was Alexander’s four blocked shots.

Leading scoring for Mason was Noel Obusan with 7, followed by Alexander and Stewart with 6 each, Shawn Boyles with 5, Philippe Griffiths with three, Eion Oosterbaan with 2, Rand Walter and Dmitri Venets with 1 each.

The other Mason seniors playing their final game tonight, in addition to Alexander, were Ryan Moot, Crawford Taylor and Boyles.

With tonight’s loss, the Mason boys’ state championship drought continues. The Mustangs’ one and only title was in 1956, and the last time Mason made it to the state Final Four was in 2001, when it also lost its semifinal game.

 

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