It was a good night for Coast teams against defending champions Wednesday on the final day of the Joe Barlow Invitational Tournament.
St. Martin edged Class 5A state champion Laurel 68-64 and Biloxi High withstood a strong comeback attempt from Alabama Class 7A champion McGill-Toolen with a 62-51 win.
Gulfport High opened the final day with a 74-53 victory against B.C. Rain.
“We grew up during this tournament,” said St. Martin coach Charlie Palvus, whose team has only one returning starter — Daetren Bevins. “We got mentally tougher and physically tougher.”
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With 1:46 left to go and St. Martin up 58-54, the Yellow Jackets’ Tim Downs stole a pass at the baseline. Downs then threw a quick pass to Trez Kennedy, who was at midcourt due to a failed steal attempt earlier in the Tornadoes possession. Kennedy took the ball in for the Yellow Jackets for a 60-54 lead.
The Yellow Jackets (7-2) forced four Laurel turnovers in the final three minutes to take control of the game.
“We did a good job defensively over the last three minutes,” Palvus said. “We did a good job of switching defenses on them and disguising what we were in.”
The Yellow Jackets added baskets by D.Q. Gaudin and Jariyon Wilkens to extend their lead to 64-56 with 54 seconds left before closing the game by hitting 4 of 6 free throws in the final 30 seconds.
Laurel’s Charles Wilson was sizzling from behind the arc, hitting 7 of 9 3-point attempts to keep the Golden Tornadoes (1-4) close to St. Martin. Wilson had two late 3-pointers to make the final score 68-64.
Kennedy led the way for St. Martin with 18 points, seven rebounds, and six assists. Bevins finished with 17 points, hitting four 3-pointers. Wilkens finished with 14 points and Gaudin added 10 points and 10 rebounds, seven in the final quarter with most coming after he suffered a minor shoulder separation with about five minutes left to play.
Downs dished out six assists and Gaven Jacobs pulled down seven rebounds for St. Martin.
“Without those seven rebounds, we don’t win the game,” Palvus said.
Wilson led all scorers with 30 points. Alcorn State signee Troymain Crosby added 14 points.
Biloxi 62, McGill-Toolen 51: The Indians (4-1) took a 39-22 lead into halftime after Martell Turner, Dontevious Proby and Ahmad Arrington combined for 26 points.
Turner scored 10 points in the first half and Proby had nine.
McGill-Toolen (4-4), though, playing without nine players who are in the Alabama Class 7A football state championship, started chipping away at the Indians lead behind Manny Patrick, who drained three treys, in the third quarter. Caleb Roberson took over the comeback in the final quarter with six points, hitting a layup with 4:04 left to cut the once-commanding Biloxi lead to 56-51.
“I thought we got lackadaisical after the first half,” said Biloxi coach Seber Windham. “But (McGill-Toolen) made some shots and they are a good shooting team.”
However, Roberson’s last basket would be the last time McGill-Toolen would score. Biloxi (4-1) closed out the game hitting 6-of-8 from the free throw line, with D.Q. Proby scoring all three of his points on four free-throw attempts.
“Those free throws were huge,” Windham said. “We haven’t been hitting free throws. We are trying to get better than that.”
Windham said the Indians benefited from the tournament.
“You would like to win by 30 every night. However, you don’t learn from those games,” he said. “You learn something from games like this when the other team comes back.”
Dontevious Proby led the Indians with 13 points. Fred Ramsey-Thompson and Arrington each added 11.
Patrick and Roberson scored 14 points each to lead McGill-Toolen.
Gulfport 74, B.C. Rain 53: Behind three 3-pointers from Juan Irias and eight points from Miles Daniels, the Admirals went on a 22-7 run in the second quarter to take control of the game and never looked back.
Daniels finished with 15 points for Gulfport (5-1), which won all three of its tournament games.
St. Martin also won all three of its tournament games.
Irias added 12 points and Dequarius McCord had 10 as 10 Gulfport players scored.
Dennis McKenzie led B.C. Rain (1-6) with 15 points.