Fort Scott High School's varsity tennis team took third place in a five-team tournament at Parsons, Kan., Thursday. The Tigers and Pittsburg each finished with 7 points but Fort Scott was awarded second because it won more total games, 76-70. Parsons and Independence each scored 13 points with Parsons awarded first on a tiebreaker.
Three of the entries finished with 2-2 records, two taking third place and another awarded fourth after tiebreakers went against them.
"This was a good tournament to open the season," Fort Scott head coach Lynn Barr said. "We were tested by some good players and definitely see some things that we must improve on in the coming weeks. We made some mistakes and errors, but that is to be expected at this point in the season."
Courtney Crain took third place in No. 1 singles. She shut out Megan Reed of Pittsburg and defeated Tayita Abudu of Coffeyville, 8-2. She lost to Abbi Graff of Independence and Sarah Ong of Parsons, both 8-0.
"Courtney played some good singles in stretches," Barr said. "She played a very solid match in her opening round against Pittsburg. The Indy girl put a lot of pressure on her and was able to force some errors. Against Parsons, Courtney struggled early, but once she got used to her opponent's pace, she actually was stroking with her and had some good points against a very good player."
Michelle Buntain and Corina Harrison finished third in No. 1 doubles. They beat Pittsburg's Brittney Wilde/Jessica Curlee, 8-3, and Coffeyville's Callie McKaskill/Taylor Neal, 8-0. They lost to Indy's Erin Weeselowski/Dee Mendoza and Parsons' Kiralyn Mosier/Bree Rogers, both 8-3.
"Michelle and Corina were a little shaky at times but also played some solid tennis at times," Barr said. "Last year they had a good season and yesterday they felt a little pressure because expectations are a little higher for them this year than last, but I'm sure that as they play more matches, things will go a little smoother."
Ashlyn Baugher and Kenna Savage were 2-2 in No. 2 doubles. They defeated Brea Harris/Kelsey Jump of Parsons, 8-5, and shut out Coffeyville's Cassandra Glass/Lexi Nolen. They lost to Pittsburg's Laikyn Long/Emily Badeb, 8-4, and Indy's Jene Gilstrap/Kasidee Cox, 8-5. The loss to Pittsburg was the factor in breaking the tie for third.
"Ashlyn and Kenna just never really got into any kind of rhythm against Pittsburg and had some errors at key points in the match where they could have taken control," Barr said. "When they got to their third match against Parsons, they started settling in and playing some solid tennis. This was a very balanced No. 2 doubles draw and if we would have gotten off to a better start, may have been able to win it."
Haleigh Whitten was 1-3 in No. 2 singles and finished fourth. She won by default over Coffeyville, which did not have an entry. She lost to Pittsburg's Katy Short, 8-3, Indy's Ashlyn Conner, 8-3, and Parsons' Malina Kipp, 8-0.
"Haleigh was seeing her first ever varsity tennis action after not playing much if any tennis for the past couple of years and she competed pretty well," Barr said. "I'm not sure she really knew what to expect but I think she will be much more comfortable next time. She did face three very solid players in her three losses."
This was the first varsity competition for both Whitten and Savage, both sophomores who did not play tennis last season.
Fort Scott will return to Parsons Thursday, this time for the Labette County High School tournament.