The Model Blue Devils felt like their game in December at Murray County was one that got away.
The Indians stole a 52-49 win in that contest in Chatsworth on Dec. 9, hitting a long 3-pointer in the final seconds to stun Model.
Tuesday night at home, the Blue Devils didn’t let it come down to one final shot.
Model took all the drama out of the game early, and seized control of Region 7-AA in the process, rolling past Murray County 70-47 at Woodard Gymnasium.
The Blue Devils now sit atop the region at 6-1 and have a 13-3 record overall. Murray County, who entered the night tied for first place, fell to 7-10 and 5-2.
“Model came out of the gate really strong, and we just didn’t respond to their run,” Murray County head coach Greg Linder said as he shook his head outside of the visitor’s locker room. “They definitely came out with more energy at the start, and we didn’t do a good job of matching their intensity. Model has a really good basketball team, and when we got down early, it just kind of snowballed. You can’t let a talented team like that run out and pull away from you.”
The Blue Devils sprinted out to an 8-0 lead in the opening minutes and held a 15-6 lead after one quarter. The Indians hit a 3-pointer early in the second period to make it a 17-9 game, but Model dropped the hammer with an 11-0 run that was punctuated with a long 3 from Steve Dallas to build a commanding 28-9 advantage that it never gave up.
“I think we handled their pressure defense a lot better than the first time we played,” Model head coach Jacob Travis said. “We kept our composure, and we answered their runs. Over the last few games, I think we’re attacking the basket better and shooting better shots.
“What I love about our kids is that they don’t care who scores, they just want to win games. They have really matured as a team, and I like their composure and their energy. We really just want to get better every day and improve. It may sound like ‘coach-speak,’ but it’s true.”
The Blue Devils have now won seven games in a row and 10 of their last 11.
The big early burst by Model took most of the drama out of Tuesday’s game. A 7-0 flurry in the final minute and a half of the second quarter gave the Blue Devils a 35-13 lead at the break. The cushion grew to 28 points by late in the third quarter, and the biggest margin was 31 points at 66-35 midway through the fourth quarter.
Thirteen Blue Devils played in the game, with nine getting into the scoring column. Jayden Hames and Jeremias Heard led the team with 14 points each, while Jakenes Heard added 13 and Dallas chipped in 12.
Murray County was led by Braxton Vineyard’s 15 points.
Model returns to action Friday, traveling to Haralson County for an 8:30 p.m. tip. Murray County will host Gordon Central on Friday at 8:30 p.m.