“It feels incredible, but I think it has little to do with me coaching them and more to do with the passion they showed out on the court,” said first-year head coach Jason Brice.
However, in round one on April 23, Flowery Branch beat the Spartans 3-0 to end their season.
While the boys were not able to advance to round two, Brice said he was not disappointed with the team’s performance but was surprised by the results.
“They played with the same integrity, endurance, and passion that they have shown me all season long and I was proud to be their coach,” Brice said.
Competing for South Paulding at state was singles one player Dillon Humphries, singles two Joseph Stout, singles three Tyler Feagan, doubles one team Tyler Seawell and Harrison Drake, and doubles two team, Seth Wood and Austin Menard.
The alternates for the day were Hayden Braxton, Justin Kuhn, Noah Manders and Cody Traylor.
Going into the first round, Brice said his boys “looked good and felt confident.” He said they “fought hard” during the matches but they simply could not pull off the victory.
Prior to the state playoffs, the Spartans competed in a region tournament to advance to state. Entering into the tournament as the fifth seed, South Paulding defeated Rome 3-0. However, they lost to Allatoona 4-0, and Woodland 3-0, but still secured the fourth spot in the playoffs from their region.
This season the Spartans began their play with two losses to Bremen and Rome. The boys got their first win of the season against Hiram on Feb. 28, but followed this with a loss to Woodland on March 12.
“Our boys lost a couple of key matches early in the season,” Brice said.
However, South Paulding lost only one of their last seven matches of the season — 5-0 against Allatoona on March 19.
“After those early defeats they really began to improve their power and consistency,” Brice said.
Brice said he was pleased with how his boys performed throughout the season and the passion they showed on the court.
“I couldn’t be more satisfied. This year the goal was state — we got there [and] next year the goal will be even higher,” Brice said.