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High school notebook: Senior-less Spartans off to sizzling start
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West Hall’s boys tennis team is off to its best start in recent memory.

After edging Gainesville 3-2 on Thursday at Longwood Park, the Spartans improved to 7-0 and 4-0 in Region 8-AAA. Last season, they started 6-2 and finished 16-6.

What’s impressive about the Spartans’ start is they’re winning without a senior in their starting seven.

“That kind of makes it a little bit of a surprise,” Spartans coach John McFall said. “We’ve got a long way to go, but these early wins are huge for our confidence right now, considering the youth.

“I just think the kids have worked hard, and harder you work, the more worthy you are of winning. That’s where the confidence is coming from.”

McFall considers 8-AAA a three-team race between the Spartans, Gainesville and Oconee County.

West Hall will get its first crack at Oconee County next Thursday at home. The Spartans have qualified for the state playoffs every season since 2005.

RAIN, RAIN STAY AWAY: The start of track and field season usually comes with the cancellation of multiple events due to rainy weather.

While this year should be no different, Flowery Branch track coach Jimmy Sorrels believes his program should look past the frustrations that go along with early-season cancellations.

“We adopt the philosophy and tell the kids we’re preparing for a meet in April,” said Sorrels, referring to the region meet. “These early meets are nothing more than really structured practices.

“Our girls basketball team is a testimony of playing well at the right time and we take that approach.”

The Lady Falcons’ basketball team, despite a 10-19 record, earned a No. 2 seed in the AAAA state tournament with shocking wins over Madison County and Loganville, the No. 2 and 1 seeds, respectively, in the region tournament.

They fell in overtime to Mays on Friday in the first round of the state playoffs.

Last season, the Flowery Branch track teams combined to qualify for a total of 10 events in the AAA state meet.

NICE START TO THE SEASON: In its 15-0 win over Habersham Central on Wednesday in the season opener, Gainesville looked poised to make another deep run in the state playoffs, where last season they reached the quarterfinals.

Many players from last year’s roster are back, and the Red Elephants also got production from freshmen, including Michael Gettys, who homered in his first high school at-bat.

Red Elephants coach Jeremy Kemp isn’t worried the team is too overconfident after the win.

“You want to get off to a good start, but at the same time we don’t get caught up in the scores,” he said. “This is a humble group of guys, and they’ll come ready to work tomorrow.

“They love to play, and that’s the most important thing.”

Regional events