PITTSBURG, Kan. -- Fort Scott High School's tennis team finished in fourth place here Thursday at the Southeast Kansas League Tournament. Individually, the Tigers had one fourth-place finisher and three fifth-place finishers.
For the first time since Pittsburg won the team title in 2000, Independence did not win the team title. The Bulldogs finished one point behind Parsons, which won its first title since sharing with Indy in 2002. It's the Vikings' first outright title since 1988.
Parsons scored 31 points followed by Indy with 30 and Pittsburg with 23. Fort Scott and Coffeyville each scored 17 points but the Tigers won a tiebreaker. Chanute finished in sixth place followed by Columbus, Labette County and Iola.
"Of course you always want to finish higher," Fort Scott head coach Lynn Barr said. "But everything considered, I was proud of the way this team competed yesterday and pleased with our fourth-place finish. We had some opportunities to win a few more matches but just didn't capitalize on those opportunities. But everyone competed hard and gave a great effort.
"When you realize that we lost four of the six varsity players from last year's team that finished third, figure in the time missed by Kyle coming back from injury, and figure in another player with some nagging injuries, this year's team actually came through with a pretty strong performance at the league tournament this season."
The No. 2 doubles team of Davis Drake and Gage Addington (11-11) finished fourth. They won their opening match against Colton Littleton and Hunter King of Chanute, 8-4. They were beaten by Patrick Jacquinot and Tyler Beardmore of Parsons, 3-6, 6-4 (10-5) in the second round. In consolation, they beat Austin Holman and David Kritz of Coffeyville, 8-5. Pittsburg's Micah Hashman and Jake Creech won the third-place match, 6-3, 6-0.
"Davis and Gage had a great tournament," Barr said. "They opened with a solid win against Chanute and then took the first set and were ahead in the second set against Parsons but just couldn't go ahead and close out the match. They came back with a good win over a solid Coffeyville team to get to the third-place match. Pittsburg just came out and played a very strong match and really forced us into a lot of errors. These two have done a really good job for us this season, first playing at No. 1 doubles for much of the season and then with the way they competed at the SEK Tournament."
Bryce Daly and Kyle Altic (7-3) finished fifth in No. 1 doubles. They lost their opening match to Pittsburg's Jake Cloninger and Sean Perkins, 8-5. They won the next match of Iola's Jordan Strickler and Zeph Larney, 8-1. Coffeyville's Quinton Hershey and Josh Mitchell won the consolation semifinal, 8-2. Daly and Altic took the fifth-place match from Chanute's Tyler Dillow and Jefferson Holmes, 8-4.
"Bryce and Kyle played hard, but just weren't at their best yesterday," Barr said. "They have the potential to be a very strong team. But with everyone else playing probably their eighth tournament of the season, they were only playing in their third due to injury and rainouts and at times that inconsistency showed. Both of their losses came to good teams who played well in Pittsburg and Coffeyville. We have a week to get ready for Regionals and I have a feeling that Bryce and Kyle would like the opportunity to come back with a little stronger showing next week at Chanute."
Austin Sather (12-9) had to play-in to the bracket and won that match, 8-0, over Iola's Drew Smith. Parsons' Payton Hayes won the first-round bracket match, 8-1. Sather took an 8-2 win over Coffeyville's Brad Eastman, lost 8-6 to Columbus' Cody Spainhoward and finished with an 8-6 win over Pittsburg's Hank Cloninger.
"Austin has really stepped up his game in the last few weeks and is not far away from cracking into that upper group of players," Barr said. "The Columbus player beat him in a very close match, but Austin played two very good matches against Coffeyville and against Pittsburg. (Cloninger) had beaten Austin in a close match a couple of weeks ago at Parsons and I really felt like in the rematch Austin would come back to take him. He has taken his game to another level in the last few weeks and by only being a junior, could come back next season as one of the players in that top group of singles players."
Matt Hull (7-8) lost his first-round match to Parsons' Malik Nauenberg, 8-6. He took an 8-2 win over Columbus' Mark Quinn, lost to Coffeyville's Drew Rising by an 8-6 score, then took an 8-4 win over Labette County's Aiden Carter.
"Matt had a very workmanlike tournament for us," Barr said. "He played pretty solid tennis throughout the day. He was not quite as consistent as usual in his first match against Parsons or he probably would have come away with a win there. But overall, he competed hard with both of his losses coming in 6-8 matches that could have easily gone either way. Matt really hung in and battled through some long matches yesterday and the points he scored for us in No. 2 singles were very important to our team finish."
The Class 4A Regional Tournament will be held at Chanute Thursday and Friday with the top six singles and doubles players advancing to the Class 4A State Tournament. The coaches' seeding meeting will take place at 9 a.m. with play to begin at 10. Barr said that play will go through the quarterfinal round Thursday before play resumes at 9 a.m. Friday morning."