INDEPENDENCE -- Fort Scott High's tennis team finished second at the Independence Invitational here Tuesday with the No. 2 doubles team of Courtney Crain and Kenna Savage winning their pool.
Independence finished with 14 points while Fort Scott had 12. Labette County and Neodesha each had 8 points while Parsons failed to score.
Crain and Savage (6-0) started play with an 8-3 win over Kaitlyn Shinkle/Isabelle Troy of Neodesha. They followed up by shutting out Nikita Ghandi/Liz Torres of Parsons. Then came an 8-3 win over Kalei and Shalei Matthews of Independence. Finally, they posted another shut out, this over Candance Carr/Haley Page of Labette County.
"Courtney and Kenna had a very good tournament," Fort Scott head coach Lynn Barr said. "They played good solid doubles throughout the day and were pretty much in control during all of their matches. They really took control of the net and both players hit some great shots at the net to end points when they had the chance. Both girls also played strong games from the baseline on return of serve, forcing errors and hitting some clean passing shots. They haven't played a lot together yet this season, but they played well together and appeared to communicate well."
Michelle Buntain and Corina Harrison (7-3) took second in No. 1 doubles. They beat Michaela David/Emily Depew of Neodesha, 8-2, and Baileigh Boydston/Morgan Stephens of Parsons, 8-1. They lost to Kelsey Porter/Tyra Welch of Independence, 8-5, but finished up with an 8-2 win over LC's Caitlyn Cross/Jackie Wertz.
"Michelle and Corina played good, solid tennis again today," Barr said. "They keep getting stronger and their experience together is really showing with each tournament. They are starting out their senior season just as I expected they would when they began playing together as sophomores. They are getting closer and closer to playing at that level where they can compete and win against anyone on our schedule. They need to continue to work on staying aggressive and putting pressure on their opponents everytime the opportunity presents itself.
Jennifer Harrison played No. 1 singles. This was her first time in that position but she had been 6-0 in the No. 2 position. She finished second here, starting out with an 8-4 win over Jackie Newland of Neodesha. She followed up with a shutout of Parsons' Kenzie Rea. She was shut out by Indy's Abbi Groff but came back for an 8-3 win over LC's Sami Brown.
"(Harrison) played good solid tennis in her three wins," Barr said. "The Indy match was an opportunity for Jennifer to learn and see what she needs to work toward. She hadn't seen a player like Groff yet, and the experience was a good one for her. Some kids face a tough opponent like that and give up, but I could already see a change in the final couple of games of the Indy match and again when she played LCHS. I believe Jennifer will grow as a player as a result of the tougher competition."
Krista Hightower played her first varsity singles matches and went 2-2 for third place. She beat Neodesha's Maggie Whittum, 8-4, and Parsons' Rayleigh Long, 8-1. She lost to Indy's Ashlyn Conner, 8-1, and LC's Paige Smith, 8-3.
"Krista had a good solid tournament for us," Barr said. "In her first two matches, Krista played exactly as she needed to in order to be successful. She really limited her mistakes and did a great job of keeping the ball in play and making her opponent's earn the points they won. In the final two matches, she played consistently at times, but then lost her patience at times and let her opponents have some easy points on her errors. The final two opponents were stronger players, but if Krista stays consistent, she has the opportunity to win both matches. To her credit, Krista is playing some of the best tennis of her high school career at this point, she just needs to keep working on maintaining her concentration, staying patient and eliminating errors."
The Tigers will host their annual varsity tournament Tuesday. Play begins at 3 p.m. at the high school and golf course courts. Columbus, Independence and Labette County will participate.