Atlanta Marist Knocks Out Grangers In State Tennis Semifinals

Reality set in like a gallon of spoiled milk.

The LaGrange High tennis season is over. No apologies are necessary for the LHS boys, who fell to the Marist War Eagles, 3-0 on Monday afternoon in the Class AAAA State semifinals in Atlanta.

Marist snapped LaGrange High’s 12-match winning streak, which included two playoff victories over West Hall and Westover. The Grangers have ended their remarkable season with a record of 20-4.

So what did the LaGrange High boys accomplish this year on the tennis court?

The Grangers won the Region 5-AAAA championship. LaGrange High went 8-0 in region play this spring. The LHS boys also shut out 11 teams this year, Westover and West Hall among them.

Coach Kenny Moore’s Grangers did all of that with a senior-laden team. Five seniors from LaGrange High played their last matches of their prep careers against Marist. The “Big Five” include Blade Kendall, Gavin Battle, Tiger Lakhwani, Tony Choi and Will Hunnicutt.

A sixth senior also played for the LHS boys this season with Will Blakely, but he was not in the lineup on the final day of the season against the War Eagles.

On the last afternoon of the campaign, Kendall lost at No. 1 singles, 1-6, 0-6. Granger sophomore Pierce Skinner had some bad playoff luck, too. Skinner dropped a 1-6, 0-6 match to Marist at No. 2 singles.

The War Eagles proceeded to eliminate the Grangers with a 6-1, 6-1 win at No. 3 singles against Choi. Neither of the LaGrange High doubles teams finished their matches. Granger junior Jackson Kuerzi and Battle lost their first set, 0-6 before surging to a 5-4 lead in the second set. The War Eagles earned the team win before the No. 1 doubles match was completed.

Two LHS seniors also played together for the final time as Hunnicutt and Lakhwani stepped on the court in No. 2 doubles. Lakhwani and Hunnicutt lost the first set, 4-6 against Marist. The Granger doubles team was also behind, 3-4 in the second set before Hunnicutt and Lakhwani were pulled off the court.

LaGrange High did end the season by winning 12 of its last 13 matches. That is something to chew on and gloat about.

Four varsity players with return for the Grangers next season with Skinner, Kuerzi, Youngha Cho and Albert Kim.

Chris Fernsler Sports Writer