Tennis Blog: Results from championship rematches offer insight into the drama ahead

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The Buckhead Rotary Tournament starts Friday and will conclude Saturday, March 23. The action will take place at Westminster and among the star-powered lineup of schools will be the 17-time state champion Walton Lady Raiders. This year’s team is off to another strong start, but the Raiders were defeated 3-2 at home against a surging Pace Academy team. Pace Academy has also defeated defending state champion Westminster (4-1) this season, which avenged the 3-2 loss suffered to the Wildcats in last year’s Class AAA semis. Westminster ultimately secured last year’s championship with a 3-0 win over Lovett, but Lovett was able to tally a 4-1 win over the Wildcats on March 12.

Class AAAA girls defending champion North Oconee picked up a solid 4-1 win over Class AAAAA semifinalist Buford this Thursday. Also in AAAA, the Heritage-Catoosa girls defeated reigning Class A-Public state champion Trion 4-1 on Wednesday. The Lady Generals swept the three singles matches with straight set wins by Maleah McAlister, Morgan Phillips and Bailey Christol.

Class AAAAA’s two-time defending champion Chamblee girls has also impressed this season, and battled past Class AAAAAAA’s Peachtree Ridge 3-2 this February. Defending Class AAAAAA state champion Northview, and the Titan boys which reached the semis a year ago, each took first place in the Atlanta Athletic Club Tournament last weekend.

Defending Class AA girls champion Bleckley County scored a 5-0 win at Tift County and girls Class A-Private runner-up Brookstone impressed with a 4-1 win over LaGrange this Thursday.

On the boys side, defending Class AAAAAAA state champion Walton is looking to shake off a disappointing 4-1 loss to Rival Lassiter on Thursday. It marked the second time this month that the Trojans have defeated Walton.

Defending Class AAAAAA boys champion Johns Creek is off to a 12-1 start and is 6-0 in region play after defeating Centennial 5-0 on March 18. Class AAAAA defending champion Flowery Branch is now in Class AAAA, and last year’s AAAAA runner-up Buford was served a 4-1 defeat by AAAA defending champion North Oconee on March 12. Class AAAA continues to challenge newcomer Flowery Branch, and the Falcons were defeated by Blessed Trinity in region play on March 13.

Westminster scored a 3-2 win over Lovett on March 12 to mirror last year’s 3-2 win in the Class AAA championship. The Wildcats, however, have dropped back-to-back losses to Pace Academy (1-4 March 20, 0-5 March 21) heading into this weekend’s Buckhead Rotary Tournament. Class A-Private defending champion Stratford Academy is carrying a perfect 11-0 record, but will be off until a showdown with Brentwood School on April 4 at Georgia College and State University.

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