6A Boys SE Regional: Barry Dunning Jr.’s 25 points and 25 rebounds rally McGill-Toolen
As his high school career draws to a close, Barry Dunning Jr. is clearly locked in.
The McGill-Toolen senior and Arkansas signee scored 25 points, pulled out 25 rebounds and had 5 assists on Thursday as the Yellow Jackets came back from a 15-point third-quarter deficit to beat Benjamin Russell 82 -74 in overtime at Montgomery’s Garrett Coliseum and advance to the Class 6A Southeast Regional Final.
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Thursday regional roundup
“Over the past two weeks since the playoffs started, Barry has been a different player,” McGill head coach Phillip Murphy said. “There is just a calm for him. He’s mentally in a different mode right now.
The Jackets (28-4) will face Spanish Fort (25-7) at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Garrett Coliseum for the right to go to Birmingham. The Toros advanced with a 61-51 victory over Pelham earlier in the day. Spanish Fort ended McGill’s season a year ago with a 90-66 win in the sub-regional round. The teams did not play in the regular season this year.
“They’re tough,” Murphy said. “(Spanish Fort coach) Jimbo (Tolbert) is doing a great job. They’ve been there, they’ve done this. They have two phenomenal players in Colby McAllister and Kolby Horace. We have our work cut out. There is no doubt about that. We are going to enjoy this one for 24 hours and get back to training. We will be ready to go.
McGill needed a furious run in the second half to earn a chance against the Toros. The Jackets trailed Benjamin Russell 49-34 Thursday afternoon with 3:10 left in the third quarter.
“We all struggled offensively,” Murphy said. “We didn’t execute properly. We were out of pace and attribute that to Benjamin Russell. We couldn’t do much against their 2-3 zone. But we hung on. We have been there before.
Murphy said the team changed pace defensively to get back into the game.
“We picked up the whole pitch and put pressure on them,” he said. “We confused some of them and made them feel uncomfortable. For the whole first half, they were way too comfortable. I knew when we were down 15 we had to shake it. In the end, that’s what changed the game.”
The Yellow Jackets outshot the Wildcats 39-32, had a 46-30 advantage in points in the paint and a 25-8 advantage in points from the bench.
Dunning, the reigning Gatorade Alabama Player of the Year, was 10 of 18 from the floor and 5 of 7 from the free throw line. Myles Murphy had 19 points before committing a foul in the fourth quarter. Devin McCaine finished with 17 and Gavin Veasey with 8.
“We have a group of guys who have stepped up,” Murphy said. “Devin had timely buckets. Alex Heim, Gavin Veasey, Bennett Russ and Alex Shamburger all stepped up and did what they had to do. We have a good bench. When we have foul issues or someone has a night off, we can get the guys off the bench and not miss a thing. I think we have the deepest bench in the state.
Quez Thompson had a game-high 32 points to lead Benjamin Russell. He was 11 of 15 from the foul line. The Wildcats were 19 of 29 from the foul line overall. Za’corrion Milliner followed with 16 points.