INDEPENDENCE, Kan. -- Fort Scott High School's tennis team played high-level competition at the Independence Invitational Thursday and finished fourth out of the five teams here.
Defending Southeast Kansas League champion Independence and Parsons tied for first place with 14 points each while Arkansas City, usually a top program in south-central Kansas, was third with 7 points. Fort Scott finished with 5 points while Labette County failed to score.
"This is always one of the toughest matches we play each season and this was no exception," Fort Scott head coach Lynn Barr said. "We really saw today things we have to improve on to compete with these stronger teams. We competed hard and I was proud of our of effort. We just didn't do a very good job of handling the opponent's pace much of the time and we have to be able to put the ball away when we have the opportunity."
Austin Sather and Matt Hull each played two matches at No. 2 singles and each split their matches. Sather defeated Arkansas City's Brenden Lauppe in a tie-breaker 8-7 (7-4) and lost to Indy's Ty Schabel, 8-4. Hull beat Labette County's Aidan Carter, 8-1, and lost to Parsons' Kevin Diebold, 8-5."Austin had a nice win against Ark City in a marathon match that lasted just over an hour and a half," Barr said. "Matt started out playing really well in his final singles match against Parsons, built a lead, but just wasn't able to hold on and faded at the end."
Bryce Daly was 1-3 in No. 1 singles. His only victory came over LC's joshua Mathes, 8-5. He lost to Ark City's Alex Behrens, 8-6, Indy's Skylar Stacy, 8-1, and Parsons' Payton Hayes, 8-1.
"Bryce played some good tennis even though some of the scores didn't reflect it," Barr noted. "He hit the ball pretty well and was able to win points in all of his matches."
Davis Drake and Gage Addington played No. 1 doubles and went 1-3. They defeated the Labette County pair of Dakota Lewis and Conner Traxson, 8-6. They fell to Ark City's Macen Vargas/John Rohr, Indy's Gavin Webster/Tyler Posch, and Parsons' Parker Robertson/John Paul Hurley, winning one game in total against tough opposition.
"Davis and Gage did not start out well against LCHS, fell behind but were able to come back and pull out a win," Barr said.
Michael Flater played all four No. 2 doubles matches. He was paired with Sather in the first two matches, an 8-1 loss to Ark City's Rhett Posey/Conner Seitz, and an 8-6 loss to Indy's Lane Schicke/Aidan Goodrich. Hull was Flater's partner in an 8-1 win over Labette County's Aaron McCoach/Michael Banowetz and an 8-1 loss to Parsons' Tyler Beardmore/Patrick Jacquinot.
"I thought Michael played hard for us today, played some good points and competed hard all day," Barr said.
The Tigers will see some competition outside the league Tuesday when they travel to Spring Hill for a tournament, scheduled for a 3 p.m. start.