The men’s basketball team cheers after one of their three wins so far in this season. Photo courtesy of UM Athletics

In their final season in the Peach Belt, Montevallo basketball has opened the new year with a mixed start. Coach Danny Young’s team opened the new year with a win at Auburn-Montgomery before their first conference road tests. A dominating 74-49 win was overshadowed by a loss at Augusta.

The Falcons suffered two defeats in a row after a home loss to UNC Pembroke, but got back on track with wins over Georgia Southwestern and Flagler. A shocking MLK Day defeat at USC Aiken was remedied by an emphatic 13 point win over Young Harris. However, the Falcons road woes continued at Georgia College, where they lost by 14 and scored a season low 51 points.

The Falcons have two home games this upcoming weekend to get the season back on track before the final month of regular season play. North Georgia’s visit on Saturday is followed up by Clayton State’s arrival on Monday. Montevallo will hope to see the return of leading scorer Javonte Douglas this weekend. In his absence, Jamaar Taylor has taken over the job of top scorer. In the UNC Pembroke game where Douglas was injured, Taylor amassed a season high 32 points. Tazz Marbury has seen increased minutes and was the team’s leading scorer at Flagler, with 19 on the day. Freshmen Josh Brownfield and Micah Fuller have seen increased minutes as the injuries piled up in early January. Talan Whitaker returned from an eye injury and has partnered well with Tighe Oberg in the front court. Kevin Kelly and Tony Bagtas have run the point, and their good ball control has led to a decrease in turnovers per game.

Coach Van Atta’s return to the helm of the women’s basketball team has been a tough learning curve. Montevallo has picked up only one win since the turn of the year, a road win over Flagler. Despite the record of 4-13, the Falcons have seen big performances from upperclassmen. Jazmine Stubblefield has recorded two triple doubles in the month of January. Morgan Smith and Haven Albright have done the majority of the scoring, and D’Miyah Foster has been a spark off of the bench. In the absence of RayVon Christian, Alba Perez has done the majority of the rebounding for Van Atta’s side. Freshmen Erykah Hall, Brittany Wood and Ashli Tyus have seen more playing time in the new year and have improved significantly over the course of the season. Van Atta’s squad welcomes North Georgia on Saturday before Clayton State comes to town on Monday.

The Falcons face six games in the month of February and will hope that two wins to end January will help jumpstart a late season resurgence. The men’s team have a record of 12-5 and will hope to host a Peach Belt quarterfinal game in their final season in the conference before moving to the Gulf South. Van Atta has made strides in turning around the women’s basketball program and will look to surprise some of the conference’s top teams before they also leave the Peach Belt.