BA captures another tennis titlePublished 2:30am Sunday, May 11, 2014
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The Brookhaven Academy tennis teams did battle in the MAIS AA State Championship tennis tournament at Ridgeland Tennis Center on Wednesday and as they have for the previous nine years.
The Brookhaven Academy Cougar netters brought home another AA State team title by edging out Manchester Academy by 1/2 a point. The Lady Cougars secured their first title since 2006 and the championship team trophy, it was BA’s 10th such title in as many years. The Cougars boy’s team had their streak of nine state titles snapped but finished a strong second behind the Manchester Academy boys team.
In girl’s action, the defending state champion No. 1 doubles duo of Madison Warren and Marlee Watts faced stiff competition in their first round match verses Oak Hill Academy, eventually grabbing the victory 6-3, 7-5 to advance to the finals. After dropping the first two games in their finals match-up with Manchester, Watts and Warren kicked it into high gear and won the next six games and the first set 6-2. With momentum on their side, the defending champs closed the book on Manchester with a 6-3 second set win and successfully defended their state title. As alluded to earlier, this was the second title for Warren and Watts and Warren’s third crown to cap off her BA tennis career.
In No. 2 girl’s doubles action, Cougar quick netters Lindsey Winborne and Macey Lea routed Manchester 6-0, 6-1 in their semi-final match to set the stage for the finals. Covering every square inch of the court in the finals, Winborne and Lea disposed a scrappy Oak Hill squad 6-3, 6-3 to capture the No. 2 doubles crown. Winborne, a Lady Cougar senior and a solid singles player in past seasons, showed her diversity in transitioning to the doubles court with Lea, a BA freshman, proving to be a spot-on strategic move by BA tennis coach David Misner.
With the doubles victories in hand, the waiting game began as team point totals came in. Once tallied, the BA Lady Cougars edged out Manchester to bring home the state team title. Coach Misner commented on his Lady Cougars after the matches, “I am so proud of our girls. They are a joy to work with and so deserving of their accomplishments today and this entire season.”
In boy’s action, two-time defending champ and No. 1 singles representative from BA, Grant Melancon, went into the tournament as the man to beat, and in his first contest of the day he showed all in attendance why, with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Oak Hill to vault him to the finals. In the finals match, Melancon dropped the first set to Winston Academy’s Austin Baskin 3-6 and knew he would have to regroup quickly to get back into the contest.
Melancon battled his way to a 7-5 second set win to set the stage for what will be discussed as one of the most epic marathon tennis matches in MAIS history. With both players fighting off the heat on a warm May afternoon, leg cramps and total fatigue, Melancon and Baskin saw their match leveled at 5-5 as the buzz of Ridgeland Tennis Center began to swell about the match between the two warriors. Melancon grabbed the upper hand winning his sixth game of the set and moved a step closer to the title.
Sticking to his strategy of working Baskin from sideline to sideline with rallies of 25 to 30 shots per point, Melancon took the last game to capture the third set 7-5 and the title. “I have never been in a match like that before,” an exhausted Melancon said after the contest. “Austin played great and is a super guy. I’m honored to have had the opportunity to play against him and represent BA throughout the years.”
In No. 2 boy’s singles, Cougar freshman Jacob Wiggins has come on to the tennis scene and is quickly making a name for himself and BA’s future between the lines. Wiggins methodically marched to a first round victory over Oak Hill Academy 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 and punched his ticket to the No. 2 boys finals.
Facing a familiar foe, Wiggins was set to do battle with a talented upper classman John Leggett from Laurel Christian Academy. Giving a valiant effort and gaining a world of experience to build on, Wiggins fell short in his bid for the title dropping the match 2-6, 2-6 to Leggett. Coach Misner commented on Wiggins, “There is’nt a harder worker than Jacob and he improved his game each day he stepped on the court. His time will come and I expect him to contend for a title or two again in his career.”