MHS boys knock off Westminster-Oak Mountain
By TREY HICKMAN/For the Reporter
MONTEVALLO — It may have been senior night for Montevallo, but a ninth-grader was the brightest-shining Bulldog against Westminster-Oak Mountain Feb. 1 in varsity boys basketball.
Freshman Tae’ Smith matched his jersey number with 22 points — including the first eight of the fourth quarter — as Montevallo toppled the visiting Knights 56-41.
Despite the 15-point Bulldog victory, that deficit is anything but reflective of Westminster’s second-quarter surge. Trailing 14-7 after the opening period, the Knights netted seven points from Luke Touliatos as the visitors cut the lead to three as halftime hit.
“I had to tell (my team at halftime), this (Westminister) is a good team,” said Montevallo head coach Greg Dickinson. “They never give up. So every time we would go up nine or 10, we would get a little relaxed (and) they would come right back because they’re a fighting team. They’re great at that.
“And I just had to tell them this time when we go up 10 or 11, make sure we kick it into second gear to go up 10 more points on them.”
Dickinson’s words seemed to resonate with his squad as the Bulldogs broadened their advantage in the third quarter. Montevallo’s performance in that period included a 10-0 run highlighted by a breakaway dunk by A.J. Green. Green’s jam upped the lead to 37-26 and the Bulldogs ultimately carried a 14-point edge into the final quarter.
That’s when Smith seized control, scoring the period’s first eight points — which included a pair of 3-pointers — as Montevallo essentially put the game out of reach.
“He (Smith) caught fire,” Dickinson said. “He’s been putting up a lot of shots in here and working on his game and it’s paying off for him.”
Smith paced Montevallo with his game-high 22 points, followed by Green with 11 and Bobby Anderson’s seven.
For Westminster-Oak Mountain, Luke Touliatos led the way with his team-high 21 points while Gabe Touliatos tallied five and Michael Stanford recorded four.