Falcons win title, to host region tourney

Published 9:52 am Monday, March 5, 2012

The Peach Belt Conference tournament title was the first for Montevallo, which was making its second championship game appearance in its three seasons as members of the conference.

“We really came out and executed our game plan,” said Montevallo coach Danny Young. “Things went well for us.”

Falcons’ senior guard D.J. Rivera, the league’s scoring leader in the regular-season, tallied a team-high 22 points, including three 3-pointers, along with six rebounds.

Backcourt mate senior Antoine Davis booked 15 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals.

Columbus State senior guard Steve Peterson booked a game-high 24 points, six boards and three steals. Darius Mcknight and Paul Darkwa managed 10 points each and combined for 17 rebounds.

Peterson helped the Cougars roar out to a blazing start, draining a pair of 3-pointers around a Darkwa jumper in the first three minutes as Columbus State built an 8-2 lead.

The top seed in the conference’s West Division, the Falcons answered with six straight points to knot the game at 8-all on a Marvin Fitzgerald putback and Davis’ reverse layup gave Montevallo its first lead at the 14:21 mark and sparked a 9-0 spurt.

A DeMarcus Catchings’ layup at the 6:40 mark put Montevallo up by 11 at 26-15 and a Travis DeShazior 3-pointer pushed the advantage to 29-15. Fitzgerald’s offensive rebound and layup after a Davis miss made for a 36-19 Falcons’ lead – their largest of the half — at the 2:15 mark. The Cougars got baskets from Johnathan Murphy and Jarmarquis Steverson to close the gap to 36-23 at the half.

Rivera’s trey just 39 seconds into the second half put the Falcons up 13 and a Drico Hightower free throw made it a 53-39 Montevallo lead with 8:58 to play. After Montevallo missed two free throws, Hightower came up with the loose ball and his putback gave the Falcons a 57-42. A Fitzgerald three-point play with 4:01 left gave Montevallo it’s largest of the game at 62-44.

Rivera canned six free throws in the final 2:14 and the Cougars never got within 10 the rest of the way.

The Falcons shot 51.0 percent for the game and hit 6-of-12 3-pointers and won the rebounding edge, 37-35.

Columbus State was held to 35.8 percent from the field (19-of-53), including just 3-of-16 from long range.

The conference announced the all-tournament team at the conclusion of the game, which included Montevallo’s Rivera and Davis, with Davis earning most valuable player honors.