by Matt Delaney
George Mason’s varsity boys basketball team endured a week of spirited competition from two Bull Run District opponents and came out unscathed with two more wins to stay perfect at 15-0 on the season.
The first challenge came away from Falls Church when Mason defeated Madison County High School 71-61 on Tuesday, Jan. 12.
Mason hadn’t been fazed by district competition all year, but last Tuesday they encountered a hostile home crowd and a spunky Madison County team that was hungry for an upset. Luckily, in a game that quickly became more than just another regular season matchup, the Mustangs had one thing Madison County lacked: experience.
“Ah man, it was state playoff atmosphere. Full house…it was just great high school basketball,” head coach Chris Capannola said. “Our experience won it for us. Our guys have been there before. The last four to five minutes our guys jumped out by 10, a little 6-0 run is what it was, and they never got any closer.”
And, as has been the case all year, Mason’s bench was able to come in and make a difference when they needed it most.
“We played rusty from the beginning [but] later on in the game we picked it up with guys on the bench,” junior forward Rovasoa “Tim” Andrianarison said. “We started playing our defense and [that gave] our offense the push that we needed.
Senior forward Robert Tartt led all scoring with 23, senior guard Elliot Mercado corralled nine rebounds while Mercado and senior guards D’Montae Noble and Josh Allen dished out three assists.
The second test came on Jan. 14 where an “emotionally drained” Mason squad, per Capannola, had to stoke their competitive flames once more to dispatch Clarke County High School 62-36.
“This is the first time I think that we didn’t play at the same level no matter who our opponent was,” Capannola said. “There was no cohesion, and that happens, and luckily we were good enough to overcome it.”
Mason came out flat and ended the first quarter tied 8-8. They responded with a 20 point second quarter to earn a 28-17 halftime lead and slowly built on that to suffocate Clarke County’s hopes of stealing the game from the Mustangs.
Tartt led scoring again with 15, senior forward Douglas Bossart absorbed five rebounds and Noble assisted five buckets.
Mason looks to continue its unbeaten record when they play Central High School tonight.