George Mason High School
From the outset of last night's Bull Run battle between home standing George Mason and district-leading William Monroe, it was apparent what the Greene Dragon's gameplan was: Limit Mason sharpshooter Philippe Griffiths output by shadowing him all over the court. The ploy worked, but GM has many other weapons, none bigger than 5'7 point guard Noel Obusan, who carved up Monroe's defense for 30 points, leading his team to a thrilling 64-60 victory. The win puts Mason in a 3-way tie atop the BRD at 5-1. Monroe and Madison County, a 71-41 winner over Manassas Park last night, are also 5-1. Clarke County sits a game back at 4-2.
Monroe came out of the blocks firing and jumped to a 16-7 lead in the opening stanza, but 3-point buckets by Griffiths, Obusan and Eion Oosterbaan (9 points) cut the visitors lead to 16-15 after one. Mason (10-3 overall) trailed 23-19 midway through the second, but went on a 12-0 run capped by a Rand Walter baseline bucket, to lead 31-23. WM scored the last 4 points of the period to make the score 31-27 at half.
The second half was a great example of what high school basketball is all about, with both teams mixing solid offensive execution with good defense. Mason went up 6 in the third period, but Monroe stormed back to take a brief lead. The Stangs led by one entering the final period, and the game see-sawed back and forth until GM, on the strength of 6 points from Nate Ogle (13 points, 9 rebounds) and 6 more from Obusan, took a 6-point lead. From there, the home squad used clutch free throw shooting to stave off any rally Monroe tried to make. Mason was 12-15 from the stripe in the final stanza, with Obusan going 6-7, Ogle 3-4 and Griffiths 2-2.
Mason travels to Manassas Park Thursday to finish the first round of Bull Run District games. Tip off is 7:45.