Brookstone wins third state tennis championship

Special to the Ledger-EnquirerMay 10, 2014 

Jonesboro, Ga. -- No offense, but Brookstone coach Jim East believed his team may have won the state championship when they beat Pace Academy in the semifinals.

With that difficult match out of the way, the Cougars were able to focus on a rematch with Area 1 rival Savannah Country Day in the Class A private-school boys final. The championship was a relative breeze, with Brookstone winning 3-0 Saturday morning at the Clayton County International Park Tennis Center.

The victory gave the Brookstone boys their third state championship. It was the first for the Cougars since 2005.

Brookstone won at No. 2 singles when Baran Baris defeated Greyson Finlay 6-0, 6-3. The No. 1 doubles team of Trey Thorne and Hudson Terrell defeated Rishi Patel and Nivan Lakshman 6-3, 6-1. The No. 2 doubles team of Hayden Spicer and Sahil Arora beat Gabe Adler and Sam Chappell 7-5, 6-2.

"It's a really humbling experience to win this," said Baris, who will enter medical school at Georgia in the fall. "This shows we know how to compete, we know how to show solidarity and unity. We have the competitors."

It was the second time Brookstone has beaten Savannah Country Day this year. The Cougars beat the Hornets in the area championship game.

"They were just a little bit better than us today," Savannah Country Day coach Lamar Kirkley said.

But it was the victory in the state semifinals against Pace that may have put the Cougars over the top.

"That Pace match was a real fist fight," East said. "Once we got by that match, I thought we had a great chance."

Brookstone beat Pace Academy 3-1 after a 4-0 first-round win over Eagle's Landing Christian and a 3-0 quarterfinal victory over Hebron Christian.

Brookstone entered the season with high aspirations. They played well at the Granger Invitational in LaGrange and won a tournament at Jekyll Island.

"After that, I was thinking all I needed to do was not mess this up," East said.

East gave credit to the support offered by the city for providing outstanding facilities for practice and matches.

"People get the wrong idea because we're a private school," East said. "But these kids all play at Cooper Creek. They're middle-class kids and grew up here and played at Cooper Creek."

Baris said, "I can't tell you how close this team is. We do everything together. We hang out together … we go to movies together … we work out together. (I) think that was a key to this year. There's a lot of brotherly love out there."

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