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Americus boys’ great season ends

Joel Landis finishes his season on Monday with a win to end the year at 17-2 for Americus-Sumter, which lost to West Laurens in the Elite 8 round of the GHSA Class AAA state tournament.

Joel Landis finishes his season on Monday with a win to end the year at 17-2 for Americus-Sumter, which lost to West Laurens in the Elite 8 round of the GHSA Class AAA state tournament.

AMERICUS — The Americus-Sumter boys tennis team saw its 17-1 season end late Monday in a 3-2 loss to West Laurens in the GHSA Class AAA Elite 8 round of the state playoffs.

Reigning Herald Player of the Year Joel Landis, the Panthers’ No. 1 singles player, and the No. 1 doubles team of Kentrell and Kendrick Mercer, who are twins, picked up the only two points as Americus saw its season end at 17-2 in the same spot as last year.

“These are the best kids in the world — you can’t run them out of practice. That’s how hard they work at being good,” Americus coach Carl Willis said. “They’re just good youngins’, They have each other’s backs and there’s no discipline issues. I think all of those factors are the secret to our success.”

Landis, a junior, won his match easily, 6-1, 6-1, to finish the season 17-2 individually one year after going unbeaten, while the Mercer twins won 1-6, 6-2, 6-4, to finish a perfect 18-0. Both are seniors, as is No. 2 singles player David Cowan, who lost, 6-1, 6-1, and ended 15-3 overall.

No. 3 singles player Brandon Roberts, also a senior, lost, 6-1, 6-0, and the last of the Panthers’ seniors, Colton Taunton, fell, 6-1, 6-3.

This year’s playoff run marked the sixth straight year Americus has reached the state tournament.