Paul Bryant Advances to Regionals
In the AHSAA subregional round of the Class 6A State Tournament, the Paul Bryant Stampede defeated the McAdory Yellow Jackets 45-43. Adrian Wooley led the Stampede with 21 points, followed by JJ Crawford with 11. Tristan Gilmore finished with 20 points to lead the Yellow Jackets.
“It was an overall team performance,” said Stampede head coach Shon Peek-Love. “We got off to a slow start early, but the guys kept their composure, and we knew that we had to limit their points in the paint. We worked on that, and it caused some problems and luckily, we found a way to win."
Bryant won the Area-6 title on Friday, defeating Hillcrest 45-37. Wooley and Crawford combined for 15 points in the game, with junior Marchello Perkins II leading the way with 17 points against the Patriots.
Fast forward to tonight's game against McAdory, and the dynamic duo of Wooley and Crawford was the reason Bryant enjoyed offensive success and advanced to the next round. McAdory's squad has a lot of length and used a lot of press defense, but the tandem was rarely phased by it.
“They are our two leaders as they go, we go,” Peek-Love said. “What they have to understand is that they don’t necessarily have to have great offensive nights to be effective on the floor. I think that’s been what’s going just their presence on the floor demands so much defense. We put the ball in Adrian [Wooley]’s hands a lot more and allow him to make decisions and he’s doing a pretty good job at that.”
McAdory was unable to stop or keep in front of either player. If Wooley wasn't going to the rim, he was hitting mid-range or outside jumpers. Crawford did the same, hitting two three-pointers in the third quarter.
Bryant led by seven points at halftime, but McAdory used a solid third quarter to trim the gap to one end. The Yellow Jackets never took the lead in the game due to a lack of perimeter shooting and missed free-throw opportunities.
Stampede big man Marquis Nash fouled out with five minutes remaining in the game. McAdory was starting to have success getting to the hoop and exploiting its size without the opponent's primary rebounder and rim protector.
“Soon as I heard the whistle blow, I was disappointed,” Nash said. “I knew my teammates needed me and there was nothing I could do about it. The great group of guys that we have they pulled the win and they handled business.”
“Somebody had to step up,” Peek-Love said. “He’s a big part of our defense up in the middle. Eric Grant just came back from COVID, he was able to come in and give us some big minutes on defense. Combine with him, Perkins, and Wooley down there on the inside, they did a good job helping on the inside and rebounding.”
Despite having the chance to distance themselves, the Stampede chose not to do so. Late in the game, Bryant did not make enough free throws which kept the game close as it was.
Paul Bryant led by two points with 6.8 seconds remaining after a defensive stop, and Wooley went one for two from the free throw line. McAdory had no more timeouts and pushed the ball down the court after the miss but could not get a shot off at the end of the game due to a Stampede steal.
Paul Bryant will compete against Pelham in the AHSAA Class 6A Regionals at the Bills Harris Arena in Birmingham. Due to severe weather, the game is postponed to Friday, February 17 at 10:30 am.