Lions complete turnaround title

Peachtree Ridge's Mary Jeremiah hits the ball during the Region 7-AAAAA finals match on Friday at the Hamilton Mill tennis facility.

Peachtree Ridge's Mary Jeremiah hits the ball during the Region 7-AAAAA finals match on Friday at the Hamilton Mill tennis facility.

HOSCHTON -- Peachtree Ridge's girls tennis team has relied on its singles players all season.

All three came through again on Friday at Hamilton Mill against Chattahoochee. Mary Jeremiah, Jessica Northcutt and Abigail Owens won their singles matches to lead Peachtree Ridge to a 3-0 victory and the Region 7-AAAAAA championship, the first in the program's history.

"My entire singles lineup has been superb all season," Peachtree Ridge coach Chrissie Bolt said. "All three played outstanding."

North Gwinnett's boys tennis team needed to win a play-in game last year just to get into the region tournament. This season the Bulldogs reached the region finals, losing to state juggernaut Northview 3-0 on Friday.

"It's almost a Cinderella story," North coach Paula Radloff said. "We've had a change in the lineup and the two awesome freshmen. I'm ecstatic. They have exceeded my goal of just getting to state."

Steven Bradley, who is the salutatorian at North, lost 6-2, 6-4 at No. 1 singles. Kyle Kinsler had to injury default at No. 2 singles and the No. 1 doubles team of Mason Wallace and Todd Buice lost 6-1, 6-3. Kevin Navas' match at No. 3 singles and Taylor Bochholz and Mark Hardy's match at No. 2 doubles were still in play when Northview scored its third point.

It was the fifth straight region title for Northview, which has also won the last four Class AAAAA state championships. North Gwinnett is now 15-4 this season.

"Northview has some awesome players," Radloff said. "They are just a powerhouse."

Peachtree Ridge's rise to the top of Region 7 is similar to North's. The Lions were the No. 8 seed in the region tournament last year, but with the addition of three standout players the Lions have become a power.

Jeremiah, Owens, who is a freshman, and doubles player Taylor Cohen are new additions to this season's Lions, who don't have a senior in the lineup.

"Winning the region title is a big improvement from last year," Northcutt said.

Northcutt picked up Peachtree Ridge's first point with a 6-1, 6-2 victory at No. 2 singles. Owens followed with a 6-0, 6-0 win at No. 3 singles and Jeremiah followed with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 victory to seal the match.

The No. 1 doubles team of Cohen and Rachel Anderson was on the verge of winning and Charlotte Greenwood and Erin Mills were still in their match at No. 2 doubles.

"I felt like we could have taken all five," Cohen said. "We beat them 3-2 earlier this year and I think we played a lot better today."

Peachtree Ridge improved to 16-0 for the season and will play the No. 4 seed from Region 6 in the first round of the state tournament.

"I knew we had a good team all season," Bolt said. "Everyone battled and pulled it out today."