Thursday turned out to be a case of good news and bad news for the LaFayette Lady Ramblers during the Region 7-AAAA tennis tournament at Lakeshore Park in Dalton.
On the positive side, the Lady Ramblers will be headed back to compete in the state tournament. It will be LaFayette's fifth consecutive trip to the state tournament and their ninth in the past 11 seasons.
Unfortunately, a pair of gut-wrenching losses in the semifinals and consolation finals relegated LaFayette to a No. 4 seed for state and they will be forced to play at traditional powerhouse Marist in the first round at 3:45 p.m. on Tuesday.
The morning started with an easy 3-0 victory over Pickens. Madeline Ensley and Jessica McDaniels won in singles, while the team of Tori Hunter and Abbey Hannah clinched the match with a win in doubles. LaFayette was leading the other two matches when play was halted.
But in the semfinals, LaFayette would endure a tough 3-2 loss to the Cedartown Lady Bulldogs.
The Lady Ramblers got wins by Ensley and the duo of Breianna Maggard and Evie Watters, but Cedartown would tie up the score, 2-2, before winning a three-set thriller in the final match, staving off one match point to punch their ticket to the finals.
Just over an hour after a three-plus hour match with Cedartown, LaFayette was back on the court to face Cass - who enjoyed a four-break between their matches - and fatigue would rear its head as the Lady Ramblers ran out of gas in another 3-2 loss.
Ensley improved her record to 14-0 on the season at No. 1 singles, and the team of Hunter and Hannah claimed a straight sets win, but the Lady Colonels would win the last three matches to drop LaFayette (10-5) to the No. 4 seed in the region.
It was also a tough day for the LaFayette boys, who were beaten by Cass, 3-0, ending their season.
A.J. Lowrance lost at No. 1 singles, while the teams of Daniel Witt and Chaed Clements and Noah Holland and Zan Thompson were also beaten in straight sets. Both Jamie Huskey and Clayton Underwood had lost the first sets of their matches when play was stopped.
LaFayette finished the year with an 8-5 record, improving by five wins over last year's mark.
Dalton's girls won the region title with a 3-0 win over Cass, while the River Ridge boys edged Dalton, 3-2, to capture the region crown.