During their district semifinal tennis match Friday, Hixson's Whitney Clack and Michelle Phillips got a big dose of reality from coach Raul Fernandez.
"He pulled us aside and told us that if we lost that match, our season would be over and we'd have to go back to school next week," Phillips said with a laugh.
The Lady Wildcats duo will get a little extra time away from campus.
They claimed the District 6-A/AA doubles championship with two wins Friday, including a straight-sets defeat of East Hamilton's Shanna Love and Kylie Scruggs in the final.
East Hamilton's Taylor Johnson defeated Central's Autumn Baker 6-2, 6-2 in the girls' singles final a season after teaming with Hilleary Chandler for the doubles title. The boys' singles title Friday went to Arts & Sciences' Jackson Lenoir, who defeated Central's John Mitchell 6-0, 6-3 in a rematch of the 2011 final.
CSAS's Ian Derthick and Raymond Kim won the doubles title over Red Bank's Mark Colbert and Nic Gagliano.
All finalists advance to the Region 3-A/AA tournament at the Champions Club on May 14.
Clack and Phillips needed three sets to defeat Central's Maria Alley and Cindy Ormaza but cruised in their championship match, winning 6-4, 6-1.
"We wanted this badly," Clack said. "The only team we lost to during the regular season was East Hamilton's No. 1 doubles team [Johnson and Chandler], and they both played singles, so we knew we had a chance.
"Raul's never had a doubles team win district since he started coaching at Hixson, so we're happy to be the first."
In the second set of the girls' singles final, there was a dispute about the score. Johnson claimed it was 4-1 at the changeover; Baker thought it was 3-2. Both girls' coaches and tournament director Fernandez were called out to the court, and after some discussion the match score went back to 2-1 -- the last score the two players could agree on.
"To have to go back, it's a little irritating because I don't mess up on the score," Johnson said. "This was a big accomplishment for me, though. It's been a long ride, but I wanted to win singles this year after winning doubles last year."
Lenoir cruised through his first set before some shaky serving in the second set allowed Mitchell to break the Patriots senior. Still, claiming his second straight district crown was pleasing.
"I thought I played really well," Lenoir said. "I was consistent throughout the match. I know I need to work on my first serve percentage and make it more consistent, as well as coming to the net more. I felt like I was calm, though; there wasn't as much pressure because it's my fourth time playing in the tournament.
"There was a target on me because I was the top seed, so I was happy to win."
In the regional next week, Central's Mitchell will face Grace Academy's Blake Savard, the District 5 champion, while Lenoir will battle Grace's Stephen Record. The girls' Region 3-A/AA semis will pit Johnson against Boyd-Buchanan's Katie Delay and Baker versus Collegedale Academy's Alicia Salazar.
CSAS's Derthick and Kim will play Silverdale Baptist's Alex Lowry and Reid Stubblefield, with Red Bank's Mark Colbert and Nic Gagliano playing Collegedale's Michael Chung and Boston Londis. The girls' doubles semifinals pit Clack and Phillips against Collegedale's Dani-Lou Voigt and Emily Wilt and East Hamilton's Love and Scruggs against Boyd-Buchanan's Taylor Eades and Emily Brown.
Contact Gene Henley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.