The decision was actually pretty simple for Charles Jabaley and J.R. Davis.
A quick scan over the their road to the state tennis tournament this season revealed that there probably was going to be a huge speed bump in the form of Central Magnet senior Mason Grear, who defeated both Notre Dame players in the Region 4-A/AA singles tournament on his way to the state last year. The two had paired well together this season, so they decided to play doubles this postseason, and Tuesday afternoon the move showed that it had started to pay off.
The Irish duo were victorious in the District 7 doubles championship at Champions Club, defeating Signal Mountain's Zach Brown and Luke Blentlinger in straight sets. Both teams earned a spot in the region individual tournament next week in Murfreesboro.
Chattanooga Christian's Hannah Henry won the singles title over Notre Dame's Danika Dorris, while Signal's Jason Morris in singles and the Lady Irish's Sarah Faith Ingell and Mary Margaret Haywood in doubles also prevailed.
"We kind of decided early this season that we had a good shot to go all the way if we played together," Davis said. "We played really well yesterday; today wasn't our best, but we pulled out the win."
Said Jabaley: "We still have some work to do on our service placement and our composure at the net, but I think that winning tough matches like today will help us in the long run."
Two seasons ago, Henry teamed with her sister Ellie to claim the state doubles title. They fell short in their attempt for a repeat, but the junior Henry was pretty sharp in dismantling Dorris in straight sets on a hot day.
"It's still pretty nerve-racking out there," Henry said. "There wasn't much of a transition from doubles to singles; I feel good about things so far. Hopefully things can keep going that way. I did a good job of trying to be patient the whole match."
• Soddy-Daisy's Chloe Mitchell and Abigail Ellis won the doubles title of the 5-AAA individual tournament, and the Lady Trojans held off East Hamilton and Cleveland in points to claim the overall team title at Lee University.
Other winners included Cleveland's Jake Gibson and Brandon Williams in boys' doubles, McMinn's Cody Esparza in singles and Bradley Central's Katrina Saskova in girls' singles. The Cleveland boys finished with 10 points to seal the team title.
The Region 3-AAA individual tournament begins Monday in Cookeville.
Contact Gene Henley at email@example.com or 423-757-6311. Follow him at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.