George Mason falls to Lancaster in Virginia A Division 2 boys’ basketball state championship
By Preston Williams,
RICHMOND — With his team having made more than 200 three-pointers this season, George Mason boys’ basketball Coach Chris Capannola said his Mustangs have lived and died by long-distance shooting.
On Saturday night in the Virginia A Division 2 championship at Siegel Center, it was the latter, a slow basketball death. The Mustangs missed 17 of 20 three-point attempts in a 66-51 loss to Lancaster.
The Mustangs fell behind by double digits in each half and were unable to pull closer than five points either time.
Just as they did in the state semifinal win Friday over Fort Chiswell, the Mustangs played without leading scorer Nate Ogle, a senior forward who injured his wrist last week in the quarterfinal win over Essex.
Ogle was relegated to standing under the basket during warmups and sitting at the end of the bench during the game, his khakis matching the wrap on his wrist. The 6-foot-3 interior standout was averaging a team-high 12.5 points.
For this game, Ogle had the worst seat in the house, unable to play, and watching his teammates misfire from outside while Lancaster buried eight of 14 three-point attempts.
“Having to watch them fight, and not be able to stand there next to them . . . it’s tough,” Ogle said. “It’s something I never want to do again.”
George Mason senior guard Noel Obusan and junior forward Will Nunley combined to make 15 of 27 field-goal attempts in scoring 38 points; Nunley scored a season-high 17 and also had nine rebounds. The rest of the Mustangs made 5 of 32 shots, and the team shot worse than 35 percent in each half.
“These guys are good shooters . . . and [when] it doesn’t go in, at some point you have to say, ‘Why isn’t it? Should I shoot this one?’ ” Capannola said. “That’s probably what kills you the most, when you’re not sure.”
The last time the Mustangs cut the lead to five was with 1 minute 40 seconds left in the third quarter on a Nunley basket. When the Mustangs (26-6) made it a six-point game early in the fourth period, the Red Devils (27-2) ran off the next seven points, part of their 18-9 game-ending surge.
Six of George Mason’s top seven scorers this season were seniors, with Nunley the exception.
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