The Model boys’ basketball team was playing catchup to Darlington for most of Wednesday’s game, but the Blue Devils were able to keep alive in the final quarter to pull ahead to come away with a 56-50 win against the Tigers in the 65th annual Rome News-Tribune/Seven Hills Rotary Christmas Tournament at Georgia Highlands College.

The win sends the Blue Devils to the championship game against Rome High, which will be played tonight at 7 p.m. at Berry College in The Cage Center.

The Blue Devils went into the final quarter trailing the Tigers 45-36, but Model was able to stop the Tigers’ offense while putting together an 11-0 run with Jackson Mathis scoring nine of those points including back-to-back 3-pointers, giving Model a 49-47 lead.

After Darlington tied the score 49-49 on a basket from JD Hull, Model took the lead for good on a basket from Jabari Burge. Burge scored another bucket with :31 left and pulled down a rebound after a missed 3-pointer attempt by Barrick Wade to seal the win.

“It was a big win tonight,” Model head coach Jacob Travis said. “They’re a tough team — a veteran team, but we found a way to have a really good fourth quarter. I think our guys stepped up.”

In the third quarter the Blue Devils were able to cut the Tigers lead to one point on two free throws from David Veillon for a 33-32 score. Hull then led the Tigers on a 6-0 run with a layup, two made three throws and a two-handed dunk to give the Tigers a 42-34 lead.

Darlington jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first quarter, but a pair of 3s from Kidron Ford and Mathis tied up the score with 1:50 left in the quarter.

Mathis led all scorers with 32 points, including five 3-pointers and went 9-for-9 at the free throw line. Burge finished with 14 points.

“Jabari Burge stepped up and met the challenge in the fourth quarter, and Jackson Mathis played lights out,” Travis said.

Darlington was led by Hull with 24 points and Wade with nine points on three 3-pointers.

Burge gave the Blue Devils their first lead of the night early in the second period for a 10-8 score, but it was short-lived as Trystin Wright knocked a 3 to bring the lead back to the Tigers. Wit Szymanski then hit a 3-pointer followed by a layup to push the Tigers’ lead to 16-12.

The Blue Devils (6-3) face Rome High in the boys’ championship game tonight at 7 p.m. at Berry College, and the Tigers (4-4) meet Cartersville in the third-place game at 4 p.m

Armuchee 57, Pepperell 51

Brantson Duck put the Armuchee boys’ basketball team in an early lead and helped the Indians keep Pepperell at bay 57-51 in Wednesday’s consolation game in the Christmas Tournament at Georgia Highlands College.

Duck, who finished with 17 points, sparked an early run scoring seven points on a 12-0 run as the Indians held the Dragons scoreless until 2:34 left in the opening quarter, when Kemp Edge knocked down a 3-pointer to get Pepperell on the scoreboard.

The Dragons took the lead for the first time in the game in the third quarter when Edge hit a basket to put Pepperell up 41-40. A basket from Payton Rhoades put the Dragons up 43-40 going into the final quarter. Edge finished with with 10 points.

Brayden Perry put the game away in the fourth when he hit two free throws with 2:56 left to play, giving Armuchee a 51-49 lead and putting the Indians ahead for good.

Andrew Wilder got the Dragons going on a run of their own with scoring 13 points in the first half to cut the Indians’ lead to four points with a halftime score of 26-22. Wilder led all scorers with 24 points. Eli Brock scored 13 points for the Indians.

Armuchee (4-6) hits the court again Dec. 27 against Union County at the Battle of the States in Hiwassee. Pepperell (1-6) plays Dade County on the road Friday.