The Purple Hurricanes defeated Model 65-55 to muscle its way to its first championship in the long-running tournament, which has been played continuously since 1954.
The Canes also stretched their unbeaten streak for the season to nine games.
But their fourth victory in the tournament did not come as easily as the first three and the Canes were tested before taking a lead they would hold against the Blue Devils.
Their first test came even before the game clock started as Cartersville was assessed a technical foul because its players didn’t take a direct path to its bench, resulting in a 2-0 lead for the Blue Devils when they sank both free throws.
Mike Tobin, head coach, said he felt like the call threw his players off their game for a time.
“Those two technical fouls at the start of the game put our team in a funk,” he said. “Thank goodness those two free throws did not end up costing us the game.”
Cartersville got its bearings back with several big spurts, the first starting at the 3:43 mark of the second quarter, when the Canes were trailing 30-19 after a 12-4 run by Model put them on their heels.
That’s when the Canes answered with a 12-0 run — all of them 3-pointers — to take their lead of the night at 31-30. Model responded with a 5-2 run to carry a 35-33 lead into the breaks.
The Canes’ second big run came at the start of the third quarter when Cartersville buried its first five shots to take a 43-35 lead, the first it would actually hold.
Model came right back with a 11-7 run and trailed Cartersville 50-46 after three quarters of play.
The Blue Devils stayed close until the final minute and a half of the game, when the Canes preserved their victory by hitting five of six free throws.
“I think the key to defeating Model and winning the tournament,” Mike Tobin said, “was being more aggressive in the second half. It was something that we addressed in the locker room at halftime.”
He also gave the credit for winning the Gold Ball to the Canes.
“To win four games like we did can be attributed to the great players we have on our team,” he added.
Scoring for the Canes were A.J. Mosby, 19; Ryan Davis, 22; Tobin, 12; Dalven Penn, 7; and T.L. Ford, 2; Hakeem Winters, 3.
Cartersville improved to 9-0 overall and 3-0 in Region 5-AAA with the tournament title.
The Canes’s10-point victory over Model was by far its closest game of the tournament.
Cartersville defeated Trion, 89-62, to open its tournament play with a 27-point victory, then overwhelmed Woodland, 67-35, Tuesday for a 32-point margin, and overpowered Darlington, 87-44, Thursday for a 43-point victory.
Cartersville returns to the hardwood on Thursday, when it plays Fellowship Christian in the Pickens Holiday Classic. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m.
The Canes then play Mundy’s Mill on Friday, with tipoff at 4:30 p.m., and on Saturday takes on Douglas County with a 1:30 p.m. tipoff.
The loss dropped Model to 6-4 overall, 2-1 in Region 7-AA.