Boys basketball seeking a successful sophomore season in new district

Carter Mackinnon and Ethan Siebel

The team is in a huddle.
Last year’s boys basketball team huddles during senior night game. This year the boys basketball team is looking forward to playing a condensed season with returning senior leadership and experienced juniors who are expected to step up. (Photo by Stella Turner)

Last season, the Mustangs boys basketball program finished with a 12-10 overall record in the regular season including an impressive 8-4 record against conference opponents in their first year in the Northwestern District. The Mustangs will look to build on last season’s campaign this winter with the help of an experienced junior class and returning senior leadership. 

The Mustangs are slated for just twelve regular season contests under the VHSL’s latest proposed alternate schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All regular season contests will be played against conference opponents, meaning each and every game will be crucial for the Mustangs’ chances at winning the Northwestern District in their second season playing in the 3A division.

The boys basketball program will be led by senior guard Bobby Asel, who led the team in points and assists, and was second in rebounding for the Mustangs last season, on his way to earning all-region honors. Asel and the rest of the Mustangs will need to take a step forward this season as the team will return with just one other starter from last season’s campaign, senior guard Ryan Fletchall. The Mustangs will be without both of last season’s starting forwards, Daniel Miller and Hunter Broxson, who both graduated last year, as well as last season’s second leading scorer and team leader in steals, Deven Martino. 

The Mustangs look well prepared to fill the roles of the three key starters they will be missing this season thanks to a strong class of returning juniors. Junior guards Duncan Miller, Mac Duross, and Jameson Smith will look to provide perimeter scoring in place of Deven Martino’s vacated 38% of team three pointers last season. Junior forward Ben Yimaj will bring some sorely needed height and athleticism to the roster and will likely play an increased role this season following the loss of last season’s starting forwards Daniel Miller and Hunter Broxson. 

Varsity Basketball Coach Michael Gilroy commented on the team’s approach to replacing the production of last season’s three non-returning starters. “We have a good core of juniors who are ready to step up as well as a very solid senior class who want to go out with a bang this year. The good thing about our team is that we aren’t looking for any one player to shoulder the scoring load. Whoever has the best shot each possession is who we want taking the shot.”

The Mustangs will look to open their season with a win on the road against bitter rivals Manassas Park on December 21. The Mustangs will come to Manassas with a chip on their shoulder following last season’s controversial playoff loss to Manassas Park in the regional tournament.