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Harlem wins opening round match

Posted: April 19, 2017 - 12:10am
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Harlem’s Jacob Perry returns a shot in his first-round state playoff match against Bacon County’s Alex Thomas. Perry won 6-0, 6-0 at Patriots Park.

Griffin Fanning took a timeout, his broken right sole flopping as he jogged off the court.

The Harlem senior replaced his size 11 kicks with an almost new pair of tennis shoes his father, Steve, just happened to have in his car. With the substitute sneakers, Fanning resumed his business Monday afternoon.

Fanning and his twin brother, Owen, each won their singles matches as the Bulldogs rolled to a 4-1 victory over Bacon County in the first round of the Class AA playoffs at Patriots Park.

Harlem, the Region 4-AA champion, advances to play host to the Rabun County-Washington winner next week; the Bulldogs coaching staff said the match will likely be held Monday or Tuesday at Patriots Park.

In other tennis action, the Lakeside boys defeated Lee County, 4-0, in the first round. The Panthers, the Region 3-AAAAAA champs, will play host to Johns Creek in the second round, which has to be completed by Tuesday.

The Lakeside girls, a No. 2 seed, defeated Houston County, 5-0, and will play the Northgate-Northview winner in the second round.

The Greenbrier girls, the Region 3-AAAAAA champs, defeated Lee County, 5-0. The Lady Wolfpack will play host to the South Paulding-Chattahoochee winner in the secind round.

Last year, Harlem made postseason play for the first time in a long time, losing in the first round at Jeff Davis. This time around, Harlem made quick work of its first-round foe.

"They played tough," Bulldogs coach Wilmer Davis said. "They were really prepared for it this year in today's first round. We still have some work to do. We have to fine-tune some things."

Fanning will look to fine-tune his footwear between now and the second round. He was locked in a tight battle early with Bacon County's Spencer Manders before his shoe came apart. A few minutes after switching out shoes, Fanning returned to the court to finish off a 6-2, 6-0 win.

"Luckily, he wears the same size as me," Griffin Fanning said, adding he had an alternative plan if his dad wouldn't have been there. "I probably just would have ripped off the sole and just kept playing."

On the other end of the court, Owen Fanning, defeated Kaleb Stevens, 6-1, 6-0 in the No. 1 singles match. In No. 2 singles, Jacob Perry took care of business against Alex Thomas, 6-0, 6-0.

While Harlem dropped its No. 1 doubles match, the Bulldogs' No. 2 doubles team - brothers Davis and Will Simons - defeated Cody Herrington and Jacob Thomas, 6-0, 6-1.

"It was a good team win," Perry said. "We have good team chemistry. Just rallying around each other, picking each other up every other point across the courts, that's what really helped us."

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