Sports

Rebounding Takes Center Stage as Mustangs Dominate Boards in 63-52 Win

JUNIOR FORWARD David Miller’s (making layup) energetic play was mentioned as “contagious” among his teammates by Mason’s head coach Chris Capannola. (Photo: Carol Sly)

A 63-52 triumph over Loudoun County High School marks three straight and an official win streak for George Mason High School’s boys basketball team to open their season.

The Mustangs (3-1) are passing their primary two tests from the preseason — playing full court defense and collecting rebounds — with flying colors during their current heater. Both tend to play off one another, with the press forcing teams into taking bad shots that become runaway rebound opportunities; perfect for a Mason team that likes to keep the pace of play quick. The recipe has worked well so far as dominating the glass defined the game against the Raiders.

“We dominated the boards 41-23, and that’s a testament to how tough we’re playing right now,” Mason head coach Chris Capannola said. “Everybody is getting into the act, as all 11 guys that played had at least two rebounds. We’re not letting our size disadvantage cost us and we’re actually using it to our advantage on both ends of the floor.”

The Mustangs opened with a 5-0 run and never looked back in last Friday’s win. Entering the second quarter they held a 14-7 lead that they were able to lengthen to 30-21 by halftime.

Coming out of halftime, Mason kept the pressure and unleashed a barrage of buckets to push its advantage to 18 — the largest of the contest.

But a little relaxation by the Mustangs, and strong sense of desperation by Loudoun County, saw the visitors start to rally from there.

The Raiders trimmed the lead to five with roughly two minutes to go, but Mason kept its head on straight. The hosts were perfect 6-for-6 from the line to close the game out and helped bring the game to its final margin.

Capannola was happy with the win considering Loudoun County was on a three-game win streak of its own over solid competition before entering The Pit. Senior standouts Max Ashton (25 points, seven rebounds and three assists) and Hollman Smith (10 points, six rebounds and two assists) brought the team along and got some help from sophomore guard Deven Martino (eight points) and junior forward Daniel Miller (nine points, eight rebounds, with the latter earning some individual praise.

“Miller has been really good the last couple games. He’s athletic and full of energy and he’s improving by leaps and bounds,” Capannola added. “His enthusiasm is contagious and he’s really enjoying himself out there. It’s fun to watch.”

Mason has two more games before they enter the holiday break, starting with a home matchup against Manassas Park High School tomorrow night.