INDEPENDENCE, Kan. -- Fort Scott High School's tennis team finished second at the first of two invitationals they will play here in the next few days. The Tigers earned second-place finishes from both singles entries and thirds from both doubles teams.
"We knew this would be a tough test playing against Indy and they were as strong as expected in most places," Fort Scott head coach Lynn Barr said. "In places, we were not as sharp and didn't play quite as focused as we needed to in a couple of the doubles matches, but overall I was pleased by the girls effort in some very hot playing conditions."
Michelle Buntain was 3-1 in No. 1 singles. She shut out Katana Smith of Iola, 8-0, and defeated Madison Wendt of Chanute, 8-2. Her lone loss came to Abbi Groff of Independence, 8-1. She wrapped up the day by beating Pittsburg's Katy Short, 8-6.
Corina Harrison was also 3-1 as she played No. 2 singles. She beat Iola's Megan Smith, 8-0, Chanute's Shelby Stair in a tie-breaker, 8-7 (7-5), and Independence's Ashlyn Conner 8-6. In the final match, Harrison fell to Pittsburg's Brittney Wilde, 8-2.
"I wanted to take a look and see how Courtney (Crain) and Jennifer (Harrison) might fare against some No. 1 doubles teams, so Michelle and Corina moved over to the singles slots today. Both Michelle and Corina played very well in their singles matches, but they will be back in doubles the rest of the season.
"Michelle had a great tournament playing singles, she had wins over two quality players (Chanute and Pittsburg) and was hitting the ball well against Indy, but just wasn't able to win enough games.
Corina also had a great tournament. She fell behind against a good Chanute player, but fought back to take the match in a tiebreaker. Both of these girls should be very proud of their efforts, although they have been primarily doubles players during their high school careers, they both proved yesterday that they are good solid players no matter where they play."
Crain and J.Harrison were 2-2 in No. 1 doubles. Their wins were both 8-0 sweeps over Abbey St. Clair/Alexis Hobbs of Iola and Mikayla Pichler/Jessica Curlee of Pittsburg. They fell to Chanute's Alexis Thurston/Abby Liudahl, 8-5, and Indy'a Kelsey Porter/Tyra Welch, 8-3.
"Courtney and Jennifer did not have a good match against Chanute," Barr said. "Chanute played well, hustled, got a lot of balls back, but we made some mistakes we probably shouldn't have made. The effort was there, but the execution was off a little. They did come back and play a little better against a strong Indy team. When Courtney and Jennifer play well, they can be a very strong team, but they have to play at that level consistently."
Kenna Savage and Krista Hightower were also 2-2 as the No. 2 doubles team. Their wins were over Shelby Reno/Bobbi Sinclair of Iola, 8-2, and Laikyn Long/Emily Baden of Pittsburg, 8-1. They lost to Chanute's Beth Ungles/Chelsea Bearrick, 8-2, and Indy's Caringtyn Julian/Dee Mendoza, 8-1.
"Kenna and Krista also struggled against Chanute, losing 8-2 to a team they beat 8-4 last week. Chanute played well, but we helped them out with too many unforced errors," Barr said. "But to their credit, Kenna and Krista came back strong at the end of long day of tennis and took an 8-1 win against a Pittsburg team that had beaten them 8-6 last week in Parsons. They really stepped it up in that last match when we needed them to. We knew the matches against Pittsburg would be important because we knew the team scores were going to be very close and the win at No. 2 doubles was very key to our team success. Kenna and Krista proved with that match that they are a very capable doubles team and we may need them to play at a high level for us to be successful as a team going into the SEK Tournament."