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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Fort Scott tennis wins Labette County tourney

Saturday, September 1, 2012

PARSONS, Kan. -- Fort Scott High School's tennis team claimed the team title at the Labette County High School tournament here Thursday as Tiger entries won two of the four divisions and finished second in another.

Fort Scott scored 12 team points to 11 for Pittsburg in the five-team affair. Chanute finished with 10 points, LCHS 6 and Coffeyville 1.

The No. 1 doubles team of seniors Michelle Buntain and Corina Harrison went undefeated on the day. They posted a pair of shutout 8-0 wins over Particia Stevenson/Emily McCoach of Labette County and Katie Phalen/MiKayla Picher of Pittsburg, beat Chanute's Abby Liudahl/Alexis Thurston, 8-3, and downed Coffeyville's Scarlet Manley/AnnaKathryn Smith, 8-1.

"Michelle and Corina also started out a little slow, but got things going and then played good solid doubles for the rest of the day," Fort Scott head coach Lynn Barr said. "When they keep their intensity and stay aggressive, they are capable of playing some excellent tennis. They are capable of defending when they need to defend, but also very capable of being the aggressor and taking it to their opponents when the opportunity arises. This is the third year they have played together and we are seeing the benefits of this long-term pairing this year as I expected we would when they began playing together as sophomores."

Freshman Jennifer Harrison improved to 6-0 on the season as she swept through the No. 2 singles bracket. She shut out Pittsburg's Olivia Laidler and Coffeyville's Alexus Johnson, beat Chanute's Shelby Stairs, 8-5, and won over LC's Paige Smith, 8-2.

"Her first match was pretty close for a while, but then she got her rhythm and pulled away in it and then pretty much didn't look back the rest of the day," Barr said. "She does a good job of mixing up her game, coming in or staying back, which is impressive for a freshman."

Kenna Savage and Krista Hightower were paired together for the first time this season and finished second in No. 2 doubles. They beat Chelsea Bearrick/Beth Ungles of Chanute, 8-4, in their first match. They followed up with an 8-3 win over Caitlin Closs/Haley Page of Labette County. Their only loss was an 8-6 verdict against Pittsburg's Emily Braden/Laikyn Long. They finished the day by shutting out Coffeyville's Taylor Neal/Alexi Nolen.

"Kenna and Krista came out a little flat in the first match against Chanute, but then they started playing aggressively and had a good tournament," Barr said. "They fell behind against Pittsburg, but made a nice comeback falling just short of forcing the tiebreaker. Kenna really set the tone in the later stages of the Chanute match and got the team going with her aggressive play. Once Krista got going, she played some of the best tennis I've seen her play in her time in our program."

Junior Courtney Crain was entered in the No. 1 singles bracket but was pulled after two matches when she was affected by illness. She lost her first match, 8-3, to Chanute's Madison Wendt but managed to beat Labette County's Sami Brown in a tie-breaker, 8-7 (7-5), before she had to withdraw.

"Courtney started out stroking the ball really well in warm up and started her first match playing pretty well. But the longer she played, it was apparent that Courtney just wasn't herself so we made the decision to pull her after the second match," Barr said. "Better to lose her for two matches yesterday, than have her continue to try to play and have it develop into something more serious that could hinder her the rest of the season."

The Tigers will play in the Independence Invitational Thursday. Play begins at 3 p.m.

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