April 24, 2014

Area tennis roundup: Lady Colts earn milestone win

For the first three years of the high school’s existence, Coahulla Creek has been steadily building its tennis programs.

The progress was especially evident on Wednesday in Varnell as the Lady Colts earned their first-ever win in the state tournament with a 3-1 victory over Banks County in the opening round of the Class 3A bracket.

Coahulla Creek, the No. 2 seed from Region 5, swept its three singles matches, with No. 3 Katherine Ann Sheppard clinching the overall win with a three-set victory. Sheppard fell 2-6 in the opening set, but battled back to win 6-2 and 7-5.

Other victories came from No. 1 Erin Orem, 6-0, 6-1, and No. 2 Kathryn Baker, 6-3, 6-1.

“Our No. 1 and No. 2 singles are fighters, and they have been all year long,” Coahulla Creek coach Matt Facey said. “We have a very strong, reliable group of single girls. Katherine really stepped up against a really tough player and battled all day. Everyone really played extremely well, and it is great to see us step up our play and do so well when it matters most.”

In the second round, for which matches must be completed by Tuesday, Coahulla Creek (16-4) will travel to face Region 8 champion Oconee County, which beat Decatur 3-2 in the first round. Oconee County beat the Lady Colts last year in their first appearance in the state playoffs.

Facey said a date and time for the second-round match should be set this morning.

While Sheppard’s win secured the overall victory, the No. 2 doubles team of Olivia Hughes and Madison Zerbe was leading 2-1 in the second set after winning 6-1 in the opening set when the overall match was decided. Banks County’s lone victory was at No. 1 doubles over Vanessa Suarez and Alex Wilbanks, who fell 6-4, 7-6 (5). That one loss did little to dim the celebration for the Lady Colts.

“It has been really exciting, and everyone has really stepped up with their match play,” Facey said. “It was kind of an assured win for us. We felt like we deserved to be there, and the kids’ confidence was very high. Their skill level has really improved all season long with each match.”

The pressure is now on the Coahulla Creek boys (19-0), who claimed the Region 5-3A championship and will host White County at 4 p.m. today in the first round of state.

Carrollton boys 5, Northwest Whitfield 0: In the first round of the Class 4A state tournament, the visiting Bruins — the No. 4 seed from Region 7 — were swept by the Region 5 champion. Carrollton was a state quarterfinalist last year, while Northwest ends the season with a 9-4 record.

The loss was the last match for seniors Santi Angel, Cody Bourff, Blake Frankenberger, Jacob Fredrickson, Troy Poe, Tristen Smith and James Zhong.

“Even in the few matches that we lost, they were all really tight and this was a great senior class to work with,” Northwest coach Ryan Richards said. “They were fun to coach and they worked hard every day.

“Going forward, we have to keep working on a tennis culture at Northwest. We are very grateful to have Whitfield County allow us to use Edwards Park as our home courts, but getting our courts and facilities fixed up would be a big step for our program.”

Richards said the courts at Northwest currently are not playable for matches.

• Murray County’s girls beat visiting Bowdon in the opening round of the Class 2A state tournament, Murray County High School athletic director Greg Linder said, but no details were available and attempts to reach Lady Indians coach Becky Quast were unsuccessful.

Murray County (15-2), the Region 7-2A runner-up, heads to Atlanta in the second round to face Westminster, the Region 6 champion.

• In the Area 4-A boys tournament at Rome’s Darlington School, Christian Heritage (9-4) won twice to reach today’s 4 p.m. championship match at Mount Paran Christian in Kennesaw.

The Lions beat Fellowship Christian 3-1 in the opening round before topping Whitefield Academy 3-1 in the semifinals.

With that victory, they became the first Christian Heritage team to reach a region final in any sport since the school began competing in the Georgia High School Association in 2012, coach Laurie McEntire said.

“This morning we had a sort of a slow start but were still able to pull out the match,” McEntire said. “Some of my players that usually come out strong, I’m not sure what it was this morning — but when they started playing this afternoon, they were spot on. ... If we can carry that momentum into (the title match), we should be in good shape.”

Against Fellowship, the Lions swept doubles with wins from No. 1 Brian Pierce and Samuel Pippin, 6-2, 7-5, and No. 2 Austin Lowe and Cal Paige, 6-4, 6-2. Their other victory came at No. 2 singles as Evan Townsend won 6-1, 7-5.

Fellowship won the No. 1 singles match, and the No. 3 singles match was halted after the team outcome was decided.

Against Whitefield, the Lions took two singles courts — No. 1  Phillip McClure won 6-1, 6-0, and No. 3 Devin Sanders won 6-1, 6-4 — and Lowe and Paige won 6-2, 6-3, at No. 2 doubles. Whitefield won at No. 1 doubles and the No. 2 singles match was not completed.

Christian Heritage and Mount Paran both finished first in their sub-areas during the regular season to earn No. 1 seeds for the area tournament. Mount Paran beat the Lions 3-1 earlier this month in Dalton.

Regardless of today’s outcome, the Lions will host a first-round match for the Class A private school state tournament. That match must be completed by Tuesday.

Text Only
  • SE fball conditioning 1 mlh.jpg Prep football: Raiders enter preseason hoping for breakthrough

    Entering his third year as Southeast Whitfield High School’s football coach, Sean Gray believes the last obstacle is belief.
    He believes this group of Raiders has that quality.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • Devin Golden: Other sports start practice this week

    Football isn’t the only high school sport during the fall — and the others are joining in this week.

    July 28, 2014

  • Three locals on NW team in state golf event

    Three local golfers — Hardin Chambless, Tori Owens and Landon Painter — played Sunday in round one of the Junior Sectional Challenge Match.

    July 28, 2014

  • DHS fball condition#1C0E6F8.jpg Prep football: Dalton enters camp well ahead of learning curve

    The joke came quick to the lips of Dalton High School football coach Matt Land when asked how the opening day of conditioning for the Catamounts went on Friday.
    “We can quit and go home,” Land said. “They have it all figured out.”

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hall of Fame Baseball_Chan.jpg Making a trip into town

    Frank Thomas was always driven to excel, and that sure served him well.
    “I was never that blue-chip prospect,” he said. “I had to outwork my opponents.”

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hall of Fame Baseball_Chan2.jpg Chris Whitfield: Memories stay with us, and go with them

    I still remember the pandemonium that broke out in the dorm at Middle Georgia College in tiny Cochran, Ga., the night of “The Slide” in the 1992 National League Championship Series. It was a fire drill, wall street-buying frenzy and a Roman toga party all in one.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Deshawn Ruffin Sign#1C0E79A.jpg Dalton State College signs PG from Florida

    Dalton State College announced signing a Jacksonville, Fla., prep basketball standout to its men’s basketball team.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • DHS vs RHS fball xtra 7 mlh.jpg Totally focused on fútbol

    In order to chase his soccer dream and continue to mature and improve in the sport that he loves so much, Dalton High School athlete Eder Mora has decided to make a sacrifice — giving up football.

    July 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • Whitfield, Chris.JPG Chris Whitfield: Football fans may lose, but Mora will win with decision

    Throughout my career, I have been lucky enough to see some of the finest athletes this state has ever produced. From professional athletes who went on to the NFL, MLB and the NBA to college washouts who still rank as the finest high school athletes I have ever seen, I have been blessed.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • CHS fball conditioning 6 mlh.jpg Christian Heritage enters camp with many questions to answer

    In the first day of conditioning for local high school football teams, Christian Heritage coach Preston Poag didn’t decide any of the position battles that his team faces this year after losing a strong senior class.
    But there will be plenty of those battles to come.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo