The Falls Church High Jaguars were eager to improve on their performance from last year’s Joe Cascio Classic tournament, where they finished dead last. Coming in with only two wins so far on the season, the Jaguars were hopeful for a turnaround against the 2-4 George Mason High Mustangs.
Down the stretch, a comeback attempt by the Mustangs proved little too late, as clutch free throws by senior Osman Barre proved to be too much as the Jaguars won 57-51.
A turnaround seemed unlikely in the opening parts of the game for the Jaguars, after Mason opened up the scoring on a 7-0 run. The Jaguars then began to catch fire as junior John Gray scored six straight points to put the Mustangs down 7-6 at the midpoint of the first quarter. After a Mason bucket, the Jaguars tied the game up on an outstanding and one play by Barre.
A free throw by sophomore Nate Thatcher would be the only score for the remainder of the quarter for the Jaguars, which ended on a buzzer-beater three pointer by Mason senior Angel Castaneda to put the Mustangs up 15-10.
The second quarter proved to be much of the same for the two teams, as their scoring was back and forth for the entire eight minutes.
Mustang sophomore Doug Mason opened up the scoring in the quarter as he hit a two-point jump shot. Junior Chris Devlin put up the first points for the Jaguars in the second on a step back, off the backboard three to put the Jaguars down by four. A layup by junior first team all-National District wide receiver Jordan Coneys then narrowed the gap to only two points, and sparked some excitement amongst the Falls Church fans. The Mustangs went into the half up 27-25.
The Jaguars opened up the second half on an 8-0 run, with baskets by Coney’s, Gray and Thatcher. A layup by Castaneda ended the Jaguars streak, but didn’t provide enough to rattle the cages of Falls Church. The Jaguars led 41-35 going in to the final quarter but Mason refused to go down.
Mason hit a three to bring the Mustangs within three but the Jaguars would follow up on that shot with a 9-0 run. Yet again the Mustangs would not roll over, as they put up an 8-0 run of their own. With the Mustangs still down by four points and the time on the clock diminishing, they were forced into fouling the Jaguars.
Unfortunately for Mason, they were forced in to fouling one of the better free throw shooters for the Jaguars in Barre. Mason led the Mustangs in scoring with 19, who will go on to face the Freedom High Eagles in the loser’s bracket. The Jaguars, led by Barre with 21 points, will play against the Thomas Jefferson Colonials Friday at 8 p.m.
This is the third year Falls Church High hosted the Joe Cascio Classic. This tournament is played over the student’s holiday break in honor of former Falls Church High assistant varsity basketball coach Joe Cascio, who lost his long battle with cancer in February of 2010.
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