RICHMOND - George Mason battled hard all season to get to the Virginia High School League Group A Division 2 championship but came up short against Lancaster High.
The Red Devils beat the Mustangs 66-51.
“When you shoot 20 for 59, you’re not going to win with that,” said Chris Capannola, head coach for the Mustangs.
The boys were the second Mason team to play for a state basketball championship Saturday at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Siegel Center. Two teams, two different devils (the girl’s played the Gate City Blue Devils) and two different outcomes as the Lady Mustangs won their game 50-47. The Mustangs, a usual deep threat, went three for 20 from three-point range.
Noel Obusan tried to lead his team back in the second half. The Mustangs were down 46-37 going into the fourth quarter when Obusan took over. The senior clamped down on Lancaster’s guards coming up with steals and rebounds. When Capannola decided to bring Obusan out of the game late in the fourth quarter, the 5 feet 7 inch tall guard started to the bench. Steps before being greeted by Capannola, the dam of tears broke.
“Usually we make our shots,” Obusan said. “When you don’t make your shots you can’t win.”
For the nine Mason seniors, Saturday’s game was their last chance to put on the red and white for the Mustangs. For Nate Ogle, it was a second chance to motivate his team from the bench.
Ogle, who broke his right wrist in the quarterfinal game a week ago, will have surgery Tuesday. The senior broke down after the game citing his desire to want to be on the floor helping his teammates bring home the first boy’s state basketball championship in Mason history.
“You could look at it as a tough break for the team but it’s a tough break for Nate,” Capannola said. “I tell each player to play each minute like it’s your last.”
With majority of the team graduating in June, junior Will Nunley likes what the Mustangs will return next season. He said there is a lot of talent amongst the juniors but the bulk of the talent this season came from the seniors.
“It’s going to be hard next year with us losing nine seniors,” he said.
Obusan led the Mustangs in scoring with 21-points on 8 of 15 shooting. Senior Philippe Griffiths scored four-points on one of 10 shooting. Nunley scored 17-points and Jeremy Stewart scored seven-points.