Brothers Daniel and Christopher Yun and Jonathan Jemison, Lassiter’s three singles players, were instrumental in leading the Trojans into their first state final since 2007.
But as Lassiter played Brookwood for a state title Saturday at Clayton County International Park, the Yuns and Jemison were in Raleigh, N.C., playing in the USTA Southern Level 1A Championships.
That forced Lassiter to play defending Class AAAAAA state champion Brookwood, with little experience in the singles matches. As a result, the Broncos had little difficulty winning 3-0, with Lassiter winning a combined seven games.
The Pope boys were also back in the state finals for the first time since winning it all in 2011, but the Greyhounds came up short in the Class AAAAA championship, falling 3-1 to Northview with its lineup intact.
Even if the Yuns and Jemison were present, Brookwood would have likely had the advantage at doubles, but the singles matches could have gone either way.
Instead, Parker Morris was outmatched against Brookwood’s Brandon Mills at No. 1 singles, falling 6-0, 6-0. Will George lost 6-1, 6-2 to Will George at No. 2, and Brandon Wortkotter and Ben Anderson dropped a 6-2, 6-2 decision at No. 1 doubles to David Brown and Will McWhirt.
“Just getting the Yuns to play high school tennis was difficult,” Lassiter coach Wylie Brown said. “We missed them, and we wanted them, but I understand if they are going for the ranking and the scholarships. Even with the Yuns in the lineup, it would have been difficult to beat Brookwood.
“Brookwood brought their guys, and I didn’t. They deserve to win.”
Georgia Tech-bound Daniel Yun played for Lassiter as a sophomore in 2012, but he didn’t play last season as the Georgia High School Association instituted a rule of not allowing players to play high school tennis if they drilled during school hours. Even after GHSA lifted that rule for the 2014 season, Daniel and Christopher Yun, a sophomore, didn’t join the Lassiter roster until midseason.
Pope’s No. 1 singles standout, Austin Bates, dominated in his match, beating Avi Singh 6-0, 6-1, but Northview had the upper hand in the remaining matches.
Pope had already lost to its Region 7AAAAA rival twice this season, and the Greyhounds hoped that changes in the lineup would improve their chances of winning when it really counted.
Ryan Heins and Dominic Allan, who didn’t start playing together until the postseason, matched up well against Will Claussen and Gabe Caron in the first set at No. 1 doubles, but the Northview pair took charge of the net in the second set and won 6-4, 6-2.
Harrison Watkins and Mark Fisher were less successful at No. 2 doubles, losing 6-1, 6-2, and freshman Chase Forbes fell 6-0, 6-1 at No. 3 singles.
“Northview has a good way of adjusting to us and, sometimes, we can’t adjust back,” Pope coach Victoria Kemper said. “Our No. 3 singles played his heart out, but he is a freshman and his nerves got the best of him. (Northview is) a strong team all around. We have a No. 1 singles player who dominates.”