Rams tennis team wraps up best season, places 5th in state

The Sylvania Rams’ varsity boys capped off their best season in program history Tuesday with a fifth-place overall finish in the AHSAA’s Class 1A-3A State Tennis Championships at Lagoon Park in Montgomery.

The Rams combined to win eight matches in singles and doubles action in their state tournaments and had three singles players advance to the state semifinals of their brackets.

Jordan Johnson, Drake Justus and Clayton Wilks all advanced to the final four in their singles brackets to help lift the Rams to their best state tournament finish after reaching the tournament for a third consecutive year.

Johnson was Sylvania’s entry in the No. 4 bracket and bounced back to win each of his first two matches after dropping the first set on both occasions. He defeated Sam Welch of St. Luke’s (6-7, 6-3, 6-1) and beat Colby Dehoff of T.R. Miller (4-6, 6-4, 6-4).

Johnson was eliminated by Hayes Edwards of Houston Academy, who went to win in that bracket.

Justus was Sylvania’s entry in the No. 5 bracket. He got a bye through the first round and defeated Craig Blevins of T.R. Miller in straight sets (6-4, 6-4).

Justus then won his first set against Jason Jeong 6-3, but fell in the next two and came up just short of reaching a spot in a state championship match.

The Rams’ entry in the No. 6 bracket was Wilks. He got a first-round bye before beating Ben Crocker of Whitesburg Christian in straight sets (6-4, 6-2) before falling to Mitchell Piedra of Houston Academy in the semifinals.

Mason Sanders advanced to the final eight while representing the Rams in the No. 3 bracket. He defeated Joseph Gray of Lexington in the first round (6-2, 4-6, 6-4) and fell to Grayson Paulus of Whitesburg Christian in the second round.

Kenyon Stover and Jarred Higgins put up strong fights for the Rams in the No. 1 and No. 2 brackets, but both fell in their first-round matches.

In doubles action, Stover and Justus teamed up to defeat St. Luke’s in the No. 2 bracket (6-4, 6-2). They fell to the Houston Academy team in the second round, who went on to win the bracket.

Higgins and Sanders represented the Rams in the No. 1 doubles bracket and came up just short of forcing a third set in their first-round loss to Whitesburg Christian.

Wilks and Logan McCullough were the Rams’ entry in the No. 3 doubles bracket. They got a bye into the second round and lost a close one in three sets to St. James (6-4, 3-6, 6-3).

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