DALTON, Ga. — With a sweep in doubles in the Region 7-AAA finals Thursday, Dalton needed only a win in one of its three singles matches to earn its first boys’ region tennis title since 2005.
It was a win the Catamounts just weren’t able to attain. Cartersville won 3-2 at Lakeshore Park.
The Heritage boys claimed third place with a 3-0 victory over Allatoona. All four teams advance to the state playoffs, but Dalton and Cartersville will host playoff matches next week, while Heritage and Allatoona will travel.
LaFayette’s girls took their third consecutive third-place finish by beating Dalton 3-0. Allatoona won the region title with a 3-2 victory over Cartersville.
Dalton got boys’ wins from Thomas Delay/B.J. Rowland and P.K. Bhatter/Mitchell Wilson, but Cartersville’s Trevor Gotkowski, Mitchell Scott and Brock Hustetler each won in straight sets, with Hustetler’s 6-4, 6-3 defeat of Nathan Bryant clinching the title.
“We knew we were going to play well in singles,” Dalton coach David Hilley said. “They won, but it wasn’t easy.”
Scott needed a first-set tiebreaker to defeat Dalton’s Price Puryear. The Dalton senior was ahead 5-4 but lost 10-8.
“That was a tough loss, but Price kept fighting,” Hilley said.
“They were a good team and it was a good match, but some of those matches could have gone either way.”
Heritage’s boys improved to 8-2 with their sweep of Allatoona. Nick Hobbs had a win at No. 3 singles, while both of their doubles teams were victorious.
“Those are the groups that have carried us all year,” Heritage coach Darren Miller said.
LaFayette’s Lady Ramblers (10-3) and the Lady Catamounts (9-8) will travel next week for state playoff matches. LaFayette got wins from Madeline Ensley, Bailey Clements and their No. 1 doubles team to defeat Dalton.
LaFayette coach Clint Harrison said Kelly Jones and Lindsay Hannah’s doubles win was “the best they’ve played all year.
“I thought we stepped up and won at some places that I didn’t even expect us to get wins at,” he said. “I’m real proud of how we performed today.”