“It was stressful,” Dunn said of the game-winning shot in a game where senior leader Wil Savage had to be taken to the hospital by ambulance after breaking his arm when he landed awkwardly while being fouled with :24.1 left in the third quarter — his team trailing, 36-26. “We just rallied around that and fought back.”
As soon as Savage left, Griffin Christian (25-7) refocused and went right back to work. Aqil Gilani, Savage’s replacement, made the second of two free throws to send the team into the third quarter separated by nine points, 36-27.
A basket by C.J. Lewis, a pair of free throws by Dunn, another free throw by Aaron McCray shaved a point off Monsignor Donovan’s lead, 39-31, with 5:50 left to play. However, the real damage came on a pair of mid-range jump shots by Lewis, the first with 4:36 to play and the second with 3:59 to play that cut the Rams’ lead to six, 41-35.
Jonathan Hammond then hit a free throw with 3:47 left and Dunn added a layup with 3:23 to play to cut Monsignor Donovan’s lead to four, 42-38. Griffin Christian kept the pressure coming on a pair of free throws by Amir Hightower at the 2:40 to cut the lead to three points, before Hightower made another free throw with 2:07 left to cut the lead to two, 43-41.
Dunn then hit a shot with 1:57 to tie the game. Amid heavy full-court pressure, Monsignor Donovan turned the ball over and Griffin Christian kept it most of the last minute before calling a timeout with :16 left.
Dunn was fouled on the way to the basket with :02.7 left. He made the first free throw and missed the second which was rebounded by Monsignor Donovan on a night where their leading scorer, B.J. Barrett fouled out with about two minutes to play and Griffin Christian's leading scorer during the playoffs, Jonathan Hammond, also fouled out.
The Rams called timeout with :01.9 left. They managed to get it to half court on the in-bounds pass but Griffin Christian’s defense stole the ball and held it until the remaining clock expired.
For Monsignor Donovan (21-9) it was death by a million cuts as six Griffin Christian players scored six or more points — Dunn (8), Hightower and Hammond (7 each) and Savage, Lewis and C.J. Thomas (6 each) — in a game Monsignor Donovan led 12-10 at the end of the first quarter and 36-27 going into the fourth.
Griffin Christian, which has won eight in a row and 18 of 19, advances to the state semifinals 5:30 p.m., Friday at Mercer University against co-No. 2 state ranked First Presbyterian Christian which defeated Terrell Academy.
Barrett (13 points), Will Robinson (12), Phillip Walton (9) and Richard Yarborough (8) led Region 1-AA runner-up Monsignor Donovan which ended the season losing two of its last three.