Manny Patrick and McGill-Toolen came out hot against St. Martin Tuesday, but faded late to lose to the homestanding Yellow Jackets 50-43 on Day 2 of the Joe Barlow Thanksgiving Invitational.
Tournament play finishes Wednesday with Gulfport meeting B.C. Rain at 5 p.m. The Admirals have two wins in the tournament while the Red Raiders are looking for their first 2016 Joe Barlow win.
St. Martin follows with Laurel, with an expected tip at 6:30. The Yellow Jackets are also undefeated in two tournament games while the Tornadoes, the defending Class 5A champions, have split their two games.
Biloxi and McGill-Toolen close out the tournament with a scheduled tip at 8 p.m. Biloxi has also split their two games while the defending Alabama Class 7A champions have lost two in the tournament.
Patrick hit four 3-pointers and scored all 14 of his points in the initial quarter as McGill-Toolen opened with a 10-0 run and led 21-16 after the first quarter. The visitors entered the fourth quarter leading 38-37 but hit only 1 of 14 shots over the final eight minutes as St. Martin pulled away late.
“We’re struggling to score the ball,” said McGill-Toolen coach Phillip Murphy. “We have a lot of young guys who are trying to figure things out.”
Part of the McGill-Toolen’s (4-3) struggles center around the football program’s drive for a repeat Alabama Class 7A championship, a drive that includes nine players Murphy hopes will contribute to the basketball’s team drive to repeat as state champions on the court.
“Anytime guys can compete for a state championship that helps us out,” Murphy said. “We are going to have players who have competed for three state championships (two football and one basketball) over the last 12 months. We also have a lot of guys who are getting reps right now that will help us out when we get into foul trouble or if someone goes down due to an injury. We are getting tested early and our young guys are getting reps.”
For St. Martin (6-2), the story was coming back, said coach Charlie Palvus. After getting down 10-0, Palvus turned to his bench. Da’Quan Gaudin connected on a basket and foul shot for a 3-point play and the bench came up with five points.
“(McGill-Toolen) was trying to run us out of the gym,” Palvus said. “The bench came in and did a great job of giving us energy.”
Palvus said the run-stopping 3-point play by Gaudin “calmed us down and allowed us to do some things we do well.”
With just one player with significant playing experience returning from last year — Daetren Bivens — Palvus said St. Martin’s objective right now is to get accustomed to other.
“Right now, we are just trying to get better,” he said. “If we can win games while trying to get better, that’s great.”
Trez Kennedy led the way for St. Martin with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Gaudin added 12 points and Bevins 11 points, hitting all four of his free throws with less than 90 seconds left in the game. Camron Jones came off the bench to score nine points, pull down six rebounds, and dish out three assists.
Caleb Roberson had 10 points for McGill-Toolen.
No. 6 Gulfport 80, Laurel 66: The Admirals got hot in the second quarter, hitting six 3-pointers, with Dequarius McCord and Miles Daniels draining two treys each, to take control of the game and lead 40-31 at the half.
Coming out of the half, Daniels hit another 3-pointer and was fouled for a four-point play that pushed the Admirals lead to 44-31 30 seconds into the second half. Three minutes later, Keevon Oney came up with the steal and dunk to push the lead to 18, 52-34.
“We started making some shots tonight,” said Gulfport coach Owen Miller. “When the shots start going in — particularly 3-pointers — it’s easy to score points in a hurry.”
After losing to McGill-Toolen on Monday, Miller said the Admirals were in search of an offensive identity. Tuesday, he said Gulfport might have found some answers.
“That was something that was a focus for us tonight,” he said. “We wanted to make an improvement on the offensive end.”
Laurel, like McGill-Toolen, has many of its players still in football gear as the Tornadoes are in the Class 5A South State finals. Monday, Tornadoes coach Marcus Price said he didn’t see the situation as a negative even though Laurel is playing a lot more zone right now and less press.
“Playing for a state championship in the football program gives us players who have played for the big moment,” he said.
Price said when his football players join the basketball team, he will be able to run three different platoons of five players each — with each platoon presenting a different form of the press.
Daniels finished with a game-high 23 points and seven assists. Oney added 16 points and Oliver McDowell scored a dozen points. McCord finished with a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Charles Winston led a quartet of Tornadoes in double figures with 19 points. Traymain Crosby added 14 points, Jaylon Ferguson 11 points, and Andre George 10 points.
No. 1 Biloxi 65, B.C. Rain 35: Ten players scored for the Indians as Biloxi just missed doubling the Red Raiders. Dontavius Proby and Fred Ramsey-Thompson led the way for Biloxi with 12 points each. D.Q. Proby was third on the Indians’ scoring charts with eight points.
Kolby Gropke led the Red Raiders with 16 points with Anthony Fairly scoring eight points. No other B.C. Rain player had more than three points.