The SCISA Class AAA Region III girls tennis wars have ended. Now, it’s the region’s state playoffs.

Unbeaten regular season region champion Hilton Head Prep, runner-up Porter-Gaud, Ashley Hall and Pinewood Prep all received first-round byes for Monday in the state playoffs, and, barring a major upset, will be the teams participating in Friday’s state semifinals at Sumter’s Palmetto Tennis Center. All four teams will open the playoffs at home in Wednesday’s quarterfinals.

On Wednesday, defending state champion Porter-Gaud (9-1-1) will oppose the winner of Monday’s Wilson Hall/Ben Lippen match in the bottom half of the draw, which also includes Pinewood Prep facing the survivor of the Hammond/Hilton Head Christian match. Pinewood Prep (11-5) already has defeated Hilton Head Christian of Region III and Hammond twice each during the regular season.

In the top half of the draw, Ashley Hall will take on the winner of the Heathwood Hall/Florence Christian first-round match, while Hilton Head Prep (10-0-1) will meet either Cardinal Newman or Orangeburg Prep.

Those confrontations should set up Hilton Head Prep/Ashley Hall and Porter-Gaud/Pinewood Prep state semifinals on Friday afternoon in Sumter, with 2011 state runner-up Hilton Head Prep and Porter-Gaud favored to square off in Saturday’s 10 a.m. championship match.

PCA in SCISA Class AA

Palmetto Christian jumped up to SCISA Class AA after capturing seven straight Class A state titles and has taken its lumps. The unseeded Eagles need to win two playoff matches just to make it to Friday’s state semifinals in Sumter.

Palmetto Christian travels to Williamsburg on Monday, where a win would send the Eagles to Thomas Sumter on Wednesday. Holly Hill Academy, the 2011 state runner-up, is in the other half of the draw and will take on Beaufort Academy in Wednesday’s quarterfinals.

In Class A, Colleton Prep will oppose Lowcountry Prep in the state semifinals at noon Friday at Sumter.

Family Circle tickets

Tickets for next spring’s Family Circle Cup will go on sale to the general public next Friday, but local fans can get a jump on the action by taking advantage of the tournament’s first-ever select-a-seat opportunity from 4-8 p.m. next Thursday.

During Thursday festivities, fans can enter the stadium for the first chance to choose from the inventory of available seating for the March 30–April 7 WTA Tour tournament. All tickets purchased during this special event will be sold at 2012 prices.

Maybank is back

Maybank Tennis Center will celebrate its re-opening on Friday night with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 6 p.m., followed by a Charleston Pro Tennis League match. Food and beverages will be available for purchase.

The clay-court portion of the Maybank makeover will not be available for several weeks, but local league tennis matches are scheduled to resume at the James Island complex on Oct. 22 after several months of renovation.

Due to limited on-site parking, the large amount of interest in the Maybank makeover, and the addition of the popular CPTL program, parking will be available off-site where a City Department of Recreation vehicle will provide a shuttle service to the courts.

Tennis license plate

After a long wait, South Carolina tennis fans and players finally will get the chance to purchase tennis license plates from the state Department of Motor Vehicles in a few months. The new “Play Tennis … Palmetto State Tennis Player” license plates are expected to go into production in late December. Applications will not be taken until then.

A state tennis license plate was approved by the state legislature during the summer and signed into law by the governor. The state DMV approved the plate’s design.

The tennis license plate drive was sponsored by the S.C. Tennis Patrons Foundation, the state tennis association’s charitable organization which provides need-based grants to junior tennis players and academic scholarships to high school seniors. The SCTPF’s mission will benefit from the extra fees associated with the tennis plates.

The license plate’s design depicts a tennis racket striking a ball with a court as background, according to former USTA S.C. president Ron Charron. More information on the tennis license plates, fees and DMV applications will be available soon at www.sctennis.com.

Locals recognized

Family Circle Tennis Center pro Dewey Caulder was named state pro of the year by USTA South Carolina and will be honored along with a number of other local/state individuals/organizations at the association’s annual meeting Dec. 7-10.

Local winners also include Charleston Tennis Center manager Peggy Bohne for community service, Meg Farrelly as official of the year, Ann Harrah as adult female player of the year, Richard Weathers as adult male player of the year, Lori LaFevre as volunteer of the year, the Zetrouer family as family of the year, Tour Tennis as company of the year and Legend Oaks as facility of the year. The community tennis association award went to the St. George Youth Sports League.

Reach James Beck at jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. See his columns on pro tennis at ubitennis.com/english.