Two Floyd County rivals got together on the court on Friday night, and the result was a split of the girls and boys contests.
The Pepperell Lady Dragons took a lead early and never looked back to earn a 49-31 over the Model girls, and the Model boys capped the night with a big offensive performance to roll to a 75-41 victory in 7-AA play over the host Dragons.
Here are some details on each of the games:
Model boys 75, Pepperell 41
The Devils built an early lead and then turned things back up after a little slump in the second quarter to pull away for a convincing region road win Friday.
Model (12-4, 3-2 in 7-AA) scored the first 16 points of the game to grab the early momentum in the contest. Pepperell (4-10, 1-4) continued to scrap and cut the deficit to eight in the second quarter at 21-13, but the Devils once again got going on the offensive end to end the first half on a 19-4 run to take a 40-17 advantage into the half.
“Pepperell did a good job in the second quarter making it tough on us with their defense, and we went a little flat too,” said Model head coach Jacob Travis. “We had to remind ourselves how to attack and not always settle for jump shots. We missed some shots that we’re used to seeing go in, but at the end of that second quarter and to start the third quarter, we started to make shots. We’ve got four guys that can stretch the floor, and once they started knocking some shots down, it changed everything. Pepperell is a scrappy bunch. They play hard and kept us off balance in the second quarter, but I was pleased with how our guys responded.”
Model started the third quarter hot, going on a 12-0 run to start the period to build a 52-17 lead and essentially put the game away. They outscored the Dragons 26-9 in the quarter as a whole to go up 66-26 and force the mercy-rule shortened fourth.
The Devils had a balanced scoring night with nine different players contributing points led by Dane Fisher’s 14-point effort, including four 3-pointers. Braxton Sims added 13 points off the bench, Cole Mathis scored 12 all in the first half and Jakenes Heard was also in double figures with 10 points. Jeremias Heard also had eight.
“It’s a good feeling when we get to play a lot of guys, and everyone contributes,” said Travis. “All our guys on the bench can play, and they got better tonight. Our young guys got better against the 1-3-1 trap in the fourth quarter.”
Pepperell’s lone scorer in double figures was Alex Rhoades with 13 points, all coming in the second half. DJ Rogers and Jaxson Beard each added eight points.
The Devils are on the road again on Tuesday for another region matchup at Gordon Central starting at 7:30 p.m. Travis said his team knows the importance of each win they can rack up in 7-AA.
“With school being canceled and all the COVID stuff going around, you have to expect the unexpected,” said Travis. “You better get these region wins while you can because you don’t know what’s going to happen over the last few weeks of the season. We’ve really learned in the past two years to try to make the most of every chance you get to play.”
Pepperell is also on the road on Tuesday to visit Fannin County for a region matchup starting at 7:30 p.m.
Pepperell girls 49, Model 31
The Lady Dragons got out to a blistering start thanks to some impressive defensive pressure in the full-court and hot shooting and never saw their lead dwindle below double digits after that as they earned a solid home victory over region rival Model on Friday at home.
Pepperell (11-4, 4-1 in 7-AA) scored the first 10 points of the game as they got multiple turnovers thanks to their full-court press, and Ellie Cox knocked down two 3s to open the first quarter which was backed up by two buckets from Aysia Day to grab the momentum. After Model cut the deficit to 10-5, the Lady Dragons got going once again as they went on an 11-0 run and eventually took a 23-6 lead into the second quarter.
“I feel like we set the tone early tonight,” said Pepperell head coach Emily Claytor. “Ellie’s huge 3s and our defense and intensity from the start was great. We really worked hard on defense with our press and half court getting steals and deflections. That’s what we want to do.”
Model (5-10, 1-4) slowed the Pepperell offense down with some good defense of their own to start the second quarter, but after the Lady Devils had cut Pepperell’s lead to 26-14, the Lady Dragons finished the second quarter on a 10-1 run to take a 36-15 advantage into the locker room at half.
“That was a huge point of the game,” said Claytor. “(Model) went on a run to get back in the game, and we needed to make some adjustments. We always say in the huddle that ‘now it’s our turn to answer.’ We answered, and to end the half like that was huge. I thought it showed a lot of maturity for our girls to keep their composure when they got pressured with the ball. We made good decisions and kept playing hard to seal the game.”
The third quarter was a little slower paced as Pepperell kept the visiting Lady Devils at a comfortable distance and led 43-23 at the end of the period, and then Pepperell finished things off in the fourth with strong, fundamental play as the closest Model got was within 18 points.
Morgan Willingham was the top scorer for Pepperell with a game-high 17 points, including a pair of 3s and five made free throws. Day also finished in double figures with 13 points, and Cox added eight, including her two 3s.
Model’s top scorer was Morgan Wood with seven points. Sadie Raughton added six on a pair of 3s, and Tamiya Ragland scored five.
Pepperell has now won seven straight games and will look to keep the momentum going on Tuesday when they travel to Fannin County, who currently sits atop the 7-AA standings.
“It feels great to see the girls play like they have been the last few weeks, but our girls are staying focused,” said Claytor. “They are enjoying it but also staying focused on the next task at hand. They are staying in it mentally and figuring out how they can keep this momentum going and keep getting better.”
The Lady Devils are on the road on Saturday for a non-region contest at Trion at 3 p.m. They will visit Gordon Central on Tuesday for a 7-AA matchup starting at 6 p.m.