OREFIELD, Penn. -- Bashir Mason sliced through Germantown Academy on Saturday night, racking up several assists to lead St. Benedict's to a surprisingly easy 66-55 victory over the Patriots at the Lehigh Valley Hoop Festival.
Mason's handiwork in the backcourt led to easy shot opportunities for impressive 6-8 sophomore forward Stanley Branch, who tossed in 20 points to lead the Gray Bees to victory.
Mason, a 6-0, 170 pound junior point guard, is a terrific passer off dribble penetration. He consistently got into the lane and threw short passes to an open Branch for high percentage shot opportunities.
St. Benedict's led the game from wire to wire, stretching the lead to as high as 41-24 on an Eric Hazard bucket with 5:44 to play in the third quarter.
The Gray Bees led by 14 points entering the fourth quarter of play, and held off a late Germantown rally.
The Patriots got as close as five points in the final quarter, drawing to within 56-51 on a pair of free throws from Florida bound off guard Matt Walsh with 1:55 remaining.
A pair of buckets from Branch and an old fashioned three point play by junior guard Artie Bowers with 49.4 seconds to play pushed the lead to 63-53 and effectively laid Germantown to rest.
Bowers, one of the better perimeter prospects in the Class of 2003, played a solid overall game for the Gray Bees in netting 15 points.
Walsh kept the Patriots afloat for much of the contest from an offensive standpoint and led all scorers with 28 points. Lee Melchionni chipped in 12 points and Ted Skuchas seven points in the loss.
The Germantown senior trio all signed with colleges in the Southeastern United States. Walsh inked with Florida, Melchionni will walk-on at Duke next year while Skuchas plans to enroll at Vanderbilt.