April 25, 2018

Lady Braves claim back-to-back region tennis titles

The 2018 Region 5-AA Champion Lady Braves (L-R): coach Lindsay Stewart, Laurel Roberts, Melissa Collins, Macie Taylor, Alexis Nelms, Katie Smith, Lily Langley, Makayla Red, head coach Blake Alford

(Franklin, GA) — The Brave tennis program walked away with some new hardware for the trophy case Tuesday afternoon as Heard High hosted the Region 5-AA Tennis Championships.

Leading the way were the Lady Braves who defeated Temple 3-0 in the finals to earn the school’s second ever Region Championship for the girls, building off the first title that came just last season.

The three Lady Brave senior singles players led the way for the ladies, with each winning their finals match to close out an awesome Region 5-AA run.

No. 1 Melissa Collins won 8-6, No. 2 Makayla Red shut out her opponent 8-0, and Laurel Roberts won handily 8-3. Each of the girls also won their semifinal matches over Callaway rendering the doubles match-ups meaningless.

The Lady Braves finish the regular season and region tournament with a team record of 14-2 and 6-0 in region competition.

First year head coach Blake Alford was very proud of her girls and the accomplishment of winning back-to-back titles.

“I’m really proud — these girls did what I thought they were going to do today,” said Alford. ” If we can just keep working on our doubles fundamentals and remember that every match counts from top to bottom we could do really well in the state playoffs.”

The Lady Braves will host a team to be determined from region 6-AA next week in the first round of the GHSA Class AA State Playoffs. The squad hopes to become the first in school history to advance beyond the Sweet 16 in tennis.

“It took a lot of dedication and hard work for us to get this title today but we got through it — we just have to keep working hard and practicing to get to the next level where we want to be,” said No. 1 single Melissa Collins after the match.

In boys’ action, the young Braves team with only one senior claimed the Region 5-AA runner-up trophy after defeating Callaway in the semifinals and falling to the Temple Tigers in the title game.

Despite the 3-1 setback in  the finals, No. 1 Garrett Callahan had a strong showing knocking off an undefeated Temple player in a very close hard-fought finals match.

In the semifinal 3-0 boys win versus Callaway, Callahan along with No. 2 Jordan Cornelius and No. 3 Thad Higgins were each winners. The boys season record was 9-7 and 4-2 in region contests.

Callahan will look to lead the way next week as the Braves will also host a round one match versus an opponent from Region 6-AA.

Stay tuned to Heard Citizen.com for round one state playoff match-ups and game times as they become available.

The Region 5-AA Runner-Up Braves (Kneeling L-R): Garrett Callahan and Ryan Tatom (Standing L-R): Coach Lindsay Stewart, Duncan Googe, Dave Dunn, Thad Higgins,Denver Klaustermeyer-Beamon , Jordan Cornelius, and head coach Blake Alford

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