Doing it for ‘Boomer’
Newnan teams advance to 2nd round
by Staff Reports
On a day where Newnan tennis players again wore a tribute to Danny “Boomer” Bishop across their backs, junior singles player Landon Goolsby carried the Cougars on his to help spark the team into the Class AAAAAA Sweet 16 with a 4-1 first-round state playoff win over Druid Hills.
Bishop, a diehard local sports fan who passed away on Monday after battling cancer, would have plenty to talk about after Tuesday’s triumphs, which also included the Lady Cougars sweeping Druid Hills 5-0 in an equally strenuous decision.
Newnan tennis coach Hap Hines referred to the efforts as “signature wins” for the program.
Tied 1-1 among boys with his team’s No. 1 doubles lineup down a set, Goolsby sparked the team while twice battling match point in the third set trailing 5-2. He fought back to take the game and the next four in order en route to a 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 victory that seemed to lift the spirits of every one in a “Cougars For A Cure” T-shirt on the court.
The back of the shirts, which helped raised funds for cancer awareness read “Do It For Boomer,”
“That’s one he’s going to remember for a long time,” Hines said of Goolsby. “Once they got word that he had come back, it seemed to light a spark under our guys. All of our guys were trailing at some point in their match.”
A “roller-coaster” match also saw the Cougars No. 1 doubles team of Stewart Rand and Will Vineyard storm back to win from a set down. After falling behind, the duo responded to take a second-set tiebreaker 7-4 to pull out a 4-6, 7-6, 6-3 victory.
Mikey Miller tied the match at 1-1 with a 6-2, 6-2 victory at No. 3 singles after No. 1 player Will Ballou dropped a 2-6, 3-6 decision.
“He played his tail off,” Hines said of Ballou, a sophomore. “He’s a guy you want to go into the trenches with.”
Sam Thomas and Bennett Souter were equally pushed at No. 2 doubles before winning a second-set tiebreaker to clinch a 7-5, 7-6(7-4) decision.
Newnan’s boys advance to play Region 4-AAAAAA champion North Cobb in next week’s second round. The Warriors swept Camden County 5-0.
The Lady Cougars, meanwhile, won all five of their matches in straight sets, but equally had to battle in singles matches.
Sisters Gray and Carlie Griffies each pulled out 6-4, 6-4 decisions at the No. 1 and 2 positions whlie Caroline Davis also played deep into her match before winning 6-4, 6-3 at the No. 3 spot.
The most dominating performance came from a 6-0, 6-0 shutout effort from Newnan’s No. 1 doubles team of Ansley Knight and Lollie Davis. Emma Fuchs and Abbie Gordon teamed to win 6-2, 6-3 at the No. 2 position while showcasing the Lady Cougars’ depth among more than six players who have played doubles during the year.
The group also includes Emily Ferguson, Lindley Hudson and Elle Waters.
“They’re all just such great team players,” Hines said. “It’s just so hard. Some days you could just flip a coin between them.”
The Lady Cougars advance to play the winner of Region 4-AAAAAA champion Kennesaw Mountain and Coffee, the No. 4 seed from 1-AAAAAA in next week’s second round.