Her­itage sweeps re­gion ten­nis ti­tles

The Catoosa County News - - WORSHIP DIRECTORY - By Scott Herpst

Last April, the Her­itage Gen­er­als could only watch their fe­male coun­ter­parts cel­e­brate a re­gion cham­pi­onship as they lost in the fi­nals to Gilmer by a 3-0 count.

This past Wed­nes­day morn­ing in Dal­ton, the Gen­er­als once again watched their fe­male coun­ter­parts claim the 6-AAAA ti­tle, and then went out and earned their own mea­sure of re­venge.

The top-seeded Lady Gen­er­als made quick work of sec­ond-seeded Gilmer, 3-0, to win a sec­ond straight Re­gion 6-AAAA cham­pi­onship be­fore the Gen­er­als ral­lied to beat the Bob­cats, 3-2, to give the Navy-and-Red two pieces of hard­ware to take back home.

Af­ter beat­ing North­west Whit­field, 3-0, in last Tues­day’s semi­fi­nals, the topseeded Gen­er­als fell be­hind the sec­ond­seeded Bob­cats, 1-0, when Davis Kilgo dropped a 6-1, 6-4 de­ci­sion at No. 3 sin­gles, but the Gen­er­als’ No. 2 dou­bles duo of Ethan Bone and se­nior Blake Richard­son tied things up with a 6-3, 6-0 vic­tory.

Her­itage’s No. 1 dou­bles team of Cooper Terry and se­nior Nick Dar­ling lost in three sets, 7-6, 1-6, 6-1, putting Gilmer one point from the cham­pi­onship.

It didn’t look promis­ing for the Navyand-Red as se­nior Tim Grayson fell be­hind 5-1 in the open­ing set at No. 2 sin­gles. How­ever, Grayson would turn it around to win the set, 7-6, and tied up the match with a 6-2 vic­tory in the sec­ond set.

It all would come down to an­other Her­itage se­nior, No. 1 sin­gles player Leo Peace, who split the first two sets of his match, win­ning 6-3 and los­ing 6-4. But Peace would come through for the Gen­er­als with a 6-2 win in the de­ci­sive third set to give Her­itage an 8-0 record in re­gion play and the school’s sec­ond-ever re­gion cham­pi­onship.

“This was prob­a­bly the most ex­cit­ing match of my 20 years of coach­ing,” head coach Dar­ren Miller said. “I’m very proud of the way the guys played to­day and through­out this en­tire sea­son. I was im­pressed with the way all my se­niors played in the cham­pi­onship match.”

Her­itage’s se­niors were non-start­ing fresh­men on the Gen­er­als’ first re­gion ti­tle team in 2015, but Miller said they were the rea­son that Her­itage would be host­ing in the first round of the state tour­na­ment this time around.

“I’m so proud of my team, but mostly (proud of) my se­niors, es­pe­cially Leo and Tim for giv­ing us the wins to­day,” Miller added. “What a way for them to fin­ish their high school careers. I’m in awe of those guys, and Blake Richard­son just played awe­some dou­bles.”

There was much less drama on the girls’ side as top-seeded Her­itage rolled to a sweep.

Fresh off a 3-0 sweep of Pick­ens in their semi­fi­nal match, the Lady Gen­er­als got a 6-0, 6-2 win by Caro­line Hors­ley at No. 1 sin­gles. The team of Kate­lyn Burns and Erin Hulsey claimed a 6-2, 6-0 win at No. 1 dou­bles be­fore Mor­gan Phillips and Bai­ley Chris­tol put the cham­pi­onship on ice with a 6-3, 6-2 vic­tory.

Emma Lokey was lead­ing 6-1, 5-0 when the match was stopped and Maleah McAlis­ter won the first set 6-1 and was tied 4-4 in the sec­ond set when play was halted.

“I’m re­ally proud of the girls,” head coach Jeff Green said. “They’ve worked re­ally hard this year and it’s paid off with their sec­ond re­gion ti­tle. Com­ing off last year’s Elite Eight run, we def­i­nitely had high ex­pec­ta­tions for this sea­son and we’ve now ac­com­plished two of our goals. We’re ex­cited to be host­ing at state again this year. This is great group of girls and they’ve def­i­nitely put Her­itage on the ten­nis map in the state of Ge­or­gia. I couldn’t be more proud.”

The Lady Gen­er­als, like the Gen­er­als, are now 12-1 on the sea­son.

Her­itage’s boys were sched­uled to host Chapel Hill at 2 p.m. and Her­itage’s girls were slated to host Cedar­town at 4 p.m. on Tues­day (April 17) in the first round of the Class 4A state tour­na­ment.

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