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Lady Bearcats tennis cap best season in school history with state runner-up finish

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

BAINBRIDGE -- They're still celebrating at Bainbridge High, where this year's girls tennis team made history.

The Lady Bearcats were the first in the school's tennis program to reach the Class AAAA state final, and despite a 3-0 loss to Marist for the title late last week, Bainbridge came home with a new slogan.

"Our girls were saying 'We're the best public school team in Georgia.' " Bainbridge tennis coach Nicki Shockley said.

They are.

Bainbridge went 16-0 before finally seeing the perfect season end in the final on Saturday against Marist, a private school in Atlanta.

The Lady Bearcats simply dominated everyone during the regular season and thoughout their run to the title match.

They went 12-0 in the regular season, winning 11 of those matches by 5-0 scores and then shut out everyone on the way to the Final Four.

They beat Dutchtown, 5-0, in the opening round, knocking off South Effingham, 4-0, in the Sweet 16 and cruising past Lakeside Evans 3-0 in the Elite Eight.

They entered the Final Four for the first time in almost 20 years and staged a dramatic finish against Starr's Mill, winning 3-2, to get to the final.

They were tied at, 2-2, and No. 3 Anne Reynolds, whose match was much longer than any of the other four matches, was still playing in what would end up being the deciding match.

Reynolds finally won 7-5, 7-6, to send Bainbridge into the final.

"It was all up to Anne to win it,'' Shockley said. "It was intense. You could hear a pin drop during that match. When she won everyone ran onto the court. We were so excited.''

The Bainbridge girls were jumping up and down, hugging and screaming.

"Our goal was to get to the Final Four,'' Shockley said. "And we exceeded it. We went to the Elite Eight last year, and the girls had talked this year about taking one more step and getting to the Final Four. Bainbridge hadn't been to the Final Four in a long time, I think 1992. The tournament director told me that we were the first team from South Georgia to ever reach the final.''

Bainbridge finished the season 16-1, winning 14 of those matches by shutouts.

Katie Monson led the way as the No. 1 player with Kylie McGlincy close behind at No. 2. Reynolds was the No. 3 player. Caroline Rollins and Kristen Monson made up the No. 1 doubles team while Anna Wells and Kelsey Lambert made up the No. 2 doubles team. Reynolds and Kristen Monson are sophomores. The other five girls are seniors.

"This was a great senior group,'' Shockley said. "I'm really proud of the whole team. They all got along with one another so well. The past four years they have grown closer together as friends and as a team. They all worked very hard to achieve their goals this season.''