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Tigers second in home tourney

Thursday, September 20, 2012

(Photo)
Fort Scott's Michelle Buntain prepares to return a shot from a Labette County player during a doubles match Tuesday afternoon. Buntain and partner Corina Harrison defeated the LCHS team 8-1 and finished second in the Tigers' home tournament.
(Kenny Felt/Exclusive to the Tribune)
Fort Scott High School's tennis team finished in second place at its home tournament Tuesday. Independence won the team title with 11 points as its players won three of the four pools. Fort Scott, led by Jennifer Harrison's first-place finish in No. 1 singles, took second with nine points. Labette County was third with three points while Columbus came in last with one point.

"Overall, we had to be pleased with our showing in yesterday's tournament," Fort Scott Head Coach Lynn Barr said. "In the early rounds, everyone played good, solid tennis as we swept our opponents in the first two rounds. We were a little disappointed, though, that we didn't play a little better in some of the final-round matches against Independence. But even with those losses, the girls are having a good season and still improving. We just need to build on the wins and learn from the losses as we move into the final week before the SEK Tournament."

Harrison (12-1), a freshman, lost just four games in taking No. 1 singles. She defeated Columbus' Ashley Simpson, 8-2, and LC's Emily McCoach and Independence's Carington Juilan by 8-1 scores.

"Jennifer continues to play good singles for us," Barr said. "She still has a lot to learn and lots of room for improvement, but as she learns she is going to become a stronger and stronger player."

Senior Krista Hightower (4-3) was second in No. 2 singles. She shut out Columbus' Alyssa Goodwin, then defeated Labette's Patricia Stevenson, 8-4. Independence's KasiDee Cox took an 8-1 win over Hightower to win the pool.

"Krista is continuing to improve her singles play with two solid wins in this tournament,' Barr said. "The key for Krista is to eliminate errors and make her opponents earn the points they win. When she does this, she competes very well."

Seniors Michelle Buntain and Corina Harrison (9-4) also posted a shut out in beating Columbus' Kristine Davolt/Staci Derfelt in the first round. They defeated LC's Caitlin Closs /Jackie Wertz, 8-1. They lost to Indy's Erin Wesselowski/Dee Mendoza, 8-1.

"Michelle and Corina played solid doubles in the first two matches," Barr said. "But in the final match Indy came out strong and really took us out of our game and comfort zone and we were never able to get back into the match. We got rattled early, started pressing and then errors really made it difficult to come back, especially when the Indy team was playing very good tennis against us."

Juniors Courtney Crain and Kenna Savage (8-1) shut out Columbus' Paige Delmont/Brecklyn Johnson in their first-round match. They beat Labette County's Haley Page/Candace Carr, 8-1. In the final round, Anna Miller and Sarah Derrick of Independence took an 8-5 win, which was the first loss of the season for Crain and Savage as a pair.

"Courtney and Kenna are playing some very good doubles right now," Barr says. "They were doing a great job of returning serve through most of their matches. They started out strong against Indy, but Indy started playing a little better and forcing us into a few errors and they were able to pull away and get the win in a close match."

Since all five tournaments the Tigers have taken part in are round-robins, each round against a school can also be regarded as a dual. Considering that, Fort Scott is 12-5-2 overall in duals and 9-5-2 against Southeast Kansas League schools. Four of the five losses have been to Independence.

The Tigers will be in Pittsburg Thursday. Action will begin at 3 p.m. on the courts at Pittsburg State University, which are located just to the south of Weede Gymnasium on South Homer St., about three blocks east of Carnie Smith Stadium.



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