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PREP BASKETBALL: New, old make up Holiday Festival field

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Calhoun vs. Pepperell

Calhoun's Bralin Barton (3) gets control of the ball in front of Pepperell's Tae Hammond during a game in the first round of last year's Holiday Festival basketball tournament. (File, Jeremy Stewart/

The countdown to Christmas is in the single digits and that means the annual Seven Hills Rotary/Rome News-Tribune Holiday Festival basketball tournament is ready to roll again.

A total of 10 schools will take part in this year’s event, which begins Monday with four games at both Berry College’s Cage Center and Georgia Highlands College’s Floyd Campus. The first contests tip off at 3 p.m.

Varsity boys and girls teams from each school will be competing for the coveted Gold Ball trophy. Last year saw Model’s girls and Calhoun’s boys both repeat as Festival champions.

Model and Calhoun are back this year, as are the teams from Armuchee, Coosa, Darlington, Pepperell, Rome and Woodland. Cartersville returns to the tournament field this year after last competing in 2013.

New to the tournament is Sonoraville, whose boys’ team is 7-0 heading into its first game Monday against Woodland.

Games will be held Tuesday and Wednesday at Georgia Highlands only, beginning at 3 p.m. each day, while Thursday will see each site host two semifinal games before Friday’s championships at Berry College.

Besides Sonoraville, Darlington’s boys have had a good start to the season and are 3-1 and Coosa is 3-2. Rome’s boys will actually play their first game of the season Monday night against Coosa after the extended football season forced them to postpone their earlier contests.

On the girls side, Model is 7-2, Armuchee is 5-3 and Sonoraville 5-2. Rome’s girls have had some dominating performances already and are 3-1 on the young season.