Montevallo High takes down Westminster in opener

Montevallo High's Antwain Cunningham looks for an open man in a contest against Westminster-Oak Mountain on Nov. 11. (Reporter Photo/Drew Granthum)

Montevallo High’s Antwain Cunningham looks for an open man in a contest against Westminster-Oak Mountain on Nov. 11. (Reporter Photo/Drew Granthum)

By DREW GRANTHUM/Sports Editor

MONTEVALLO — What started out as a possible upset bid by the Westminster-Oak Mountain Knights turned into a strong start to the 2014-15 season for the Montevallo Bulldogs’ boys basketball team, as the home team cruised to a 52-37 win on Nov. 10.

The Knights came out of the gate shooting, as Jacob Welch netted a three-pointer to open the contest, and added two free throws to give Westminster a 5-3 lead.  Antwan Cunningham netted a three to pull the Dawgs within two, but Michael Stanford answered with a three for Westminster, extending the lead to 8-3.

Montevallo cut into deficit with back-to-back-baskets by Te’ Smith and Hunter Neighbors, respectively.

Cunningham gave Montevallo the lead on the next bucket at 9-8, and Smith extended in with an additional two points. A Welch free throw and subsequent Keller Doggett basket tied the game at 11-11. A 5-2 run ensued, and the Dawgs ended the first with a 16-13 lead.

After a Bobby Anderson free throw, the Knights cut the lead to two on a basket by Daniel Hughes at 17-15. Montevallo responded with a 6-2 run courtesy of Smith, Anderson, Levi Layton and Cunningham, respectively. Doggett broke the streak with a bucket, and after a pair of free throws by Stanford, added another free shot to cut the Dawgs’ lead to three.

A 4-0 run by Montevallo closed out the half with the home team up, 27-20.

Cunningham absolutely took over to start the second half, scoring the first six points of the half to put Montevallo ahead, 33-20. Jonathan Standford answered with a basket, but the Dawgs went on a roll, closing out the quarter with 40-26 lead.

Logan Richburg hit a three to open the fourth for Westminster, and was followed by Doggett and Michael Standford, but the effort was simply too little, too late, as Montevallo took a 52-37 win.

“We’ve still got a lot to work on,” MHS head coach Greg Dickinson said. “We did pretty good for the defense they were running the whole night. They slowed the game down a lot. (It was) a good job for the first game.”

Smith posted 27 points, while Cunningham had 17.

Montevallo moves on to face McAdory on the road on Nov. 24, while Westminster will take on Jefferson Christian on Dec. 2.