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PREP BASKETBALL: Model girls, boys get Region 7-AA wins over Pepperell

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While neither team had a perfect game, both Model basketball squads proved Tuesday night that good things happen to those who defend in the second half.

Model recorded a sweep against Pepperell in a pair of Region 7-AA games in Shannon on Tuesday. The Lady Devils took out the Lady Dragons 54-25, while the Model boys got their first win with a 66-58 victory against Pepperell.

“We are definitely a work in progress right now,” Model girls coach Sally Echolls said. “You can see bright spots, defensively we’ve come out strong. You can also see that it is early in the season and we still need to work on things.”

The Lady Devils were led by senior center Victaria Saxton, who tallied 22 points, 24 rebounds, five steals and three blocks. Guard Montana Moats recorded 11 points and Morgan Kent had seven points and 12 rebounds.

Pepperell’s leading scorer was Josie McGraw, who finished with five points.

While Model (6-2, 3-0 7-AA) was stout defensively all night, it struggled a bit to break away on offense. Those miscues contributed to an 8-3 Pepperell run in the third quarter that cut Model’s lead to single digits.

But the Lady Dragons (2-2, 1-1) would score four points the rest of the way, however, as Model’s defense clamped down.

The Lady Devils forced turnovers that turned into offense and helped get that side of the ball into rhythm. They opened the fourth quarter on a 14-0 run, putting the game far out of reach and giving them another region victory.

“Overall I think we can work towards our chemistry,” Echolls said. “These girls love each other off the court, and we’re just trying to figure each other out on the court.”

In the boys’ game, Model senior forward Justin Roberts recorded 23 points, Jackson Mathis had 17 points and Jackson Lively notched 13 points.

For Pepperell, senior Branson Hanks scored 17 points, and Justin Ware and Dawson Melton each scored 11 points.

The Blue Devils (1-3, 1-2) took an early 10-4 lead and used their size on defense whenever Pepperell threatened to make a run in the game.

The Model lead was never larger than 11 points as both teams withstood small runs from the other.

The first half produced a fast pace and plenty of scoring, but the Blue Devils settled into a pace they were more comfortable with in the second half.

Pepperell (1-1, 1-1) cut the lead to 63-58 with 25 seconds left, but a turnover killed its final chance to tie the game.

“I think most important, we did a good job rebounding throughout the night,” Model coach Jacob Travis said. “They’re a good team, they weren’t going to go away easy. But we got the ball inside and we stayed patient all night.”