Montevallo beats West Blocton in final seconds of wild back-and-forth matchup

Published 12:49 pm Friday, January 5, 2024

By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

MONTEVALLO – In an electric atmosphere between two schools which know each other well, the Montevallo Bulldogs edged out a 46-42 win over the West Blocton Tigers at home on Thursday, Jan. 4 thanks to a pair of last second free throws from Ja’Von Chism.

Chism was a key part in the opening minutes of the game as he scored all four of Montevallo’s first quarter points, while Javon Rogers and his teammates helped dictate the tempo.

West Blocton proved to be a tough matchup from the beginning. As the teams worked to find their shooting form, the Tigers took a 5-4 lead into the second quarter.

That lead would not last for long, however, because the Bulldogs quickly lit up the scoreboard in the second.

Demeco Gibson had a dominant stretch from behind the arc, making four three-pointers throughout the quarter to energize the home crowd and give Montevallo the lead.

In all, the Bulldogs outscored West Blocton 17-7 to lead 21-12 at the halftime break.

The Tigers would not go down easily and surged back in the third quarter behind an improved shooting performance of their own.

West Blocton hit a trio of three-pointers in the third as part of its 18 points for the quarter. Montevallo kept pace to limit the damage from the visitors, and after the Tigers briefly led in the final minute, the Bulldogs retook the lead to go up 31-30 as the quarter ended.

That kicked off a frantic final stretch as the teams went back and forth in hopes of sealing the win.

After West Blocton regained the lead, Gibson came up clutch again with a layup to put Montevallo up 33-32. Less than a minute later, a Chism basket increased the lead to three and triggered a Tigers timeout.

However, West Blocton hit a three-pointer with 1:23 left in the game to draw back within one point of the lead.

After the Bulldogs attempted to keep the ball away from the Tigers, they were fouled and sent to the free throw line with the game on the line.

Rogers hit a pair of free throws with 17 seconds left to increase the lead to four, but West Blocton responded with a field goal to get back within a possession.

The Tigers then fouled again with 3.5 seconds left to put the game in Chism’s hands, and he made both of his free throws to ice the game and seal the 46-42 win.

Those free throws put the finishing touches on a 13-point performance for Chism, including five free throws in all during the fourth quarter.

Gibson led all scorers with 14 points on the night, and Rogers scored seven points off two field goals and his pair of late free throws.

The Bulldogs improved to 1-1 in area play with the victory. They will take a brief break from area action on Monday, Jan. 8 as they take on Pelham at the University of Montevallo’s Trustmark Arena at 7:30 p.m.

Montevallo’s area slate will resume on Tuesday, Jan. 9 with a trip to Holt. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. against the Ironmen.