MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Sports

March 31, 2012

Twice as nice: Roughers post singles sweep at own tourney

— Connor Finerty and Shan Bradley certainly believe there’s a homecourt advantage in tennis.

The Muskogee duo captured singles titles at the Muskogee Invitational Friday, giving the Roughers two such championships for the first time in the 21-year history of the tournament.

Finerty, winning at No. 1 singles for the second straight year, defeated Tulsa Union’s Josh Coleman 6-4, 6-4 . Shan Bradley, the son of MHS coach Rusty Bradley, beat Cascia Hall’s Ganesh Krishamurthi 7-6, 6-2 to win at No. 2 singles.

Muskogee and Cascia Hall tied for the team title with 53 points in the 16-school field. The Roughers have won two other tournaments this season.

Rusty Bradley agreed about the homecourt advantage because an estimated group of 50 fans cheered on his players.

“Absolutely. In Shan’s semifinals match (against Edmond Memorial’s Jacob Gillespie), the crowd was a definite advantage,” he said.

Finerty benefited too. He was down 3-1 in the second set of the finals and then rallied to win the last four games to win the set and match.

“It was nice to have people out here cheering us on,” he said. “When I was down, I was really tired. I was just thinking that I had to fight my rear end off.  I knew he was tired too and if I fought hard enough, I could pull it out. It came down to the power of will to win the match.”

In his other matches, Finerty beat Owasso’s Parker Kelley, Southmoore’s Steven Nguyen and Enid’s Daniel Martinez.

After winning the tiebreaker in the first set 7-4, Shan Bradley jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second set on his way to winning the match. He thought his serve was the best part of his game.

“It’s a lot better than most players,” he said. “I’m able to ace a lot of players. Having all those people watching me stands out right now.

“It feels good to win the tournament.”

Bradley had a bye in the first round, then beat Bartlesville’s Trevor Schwants and Edmond Memorial’s Jacob Gillespie on the way to the finals.

Bradley is 12-0 for the season and Finerty is 15-2.

“This is thrilling, especially since one of them is my son,” Rusty Bradley said. “The cool thing I’ve got both of them back next year.

“We also couldn’t have done it without my doubles teams. They won matches to get us key points. If they don’t, we don’t do as well as a team.”

Muskogee’s No. 1 doubles team of Derrick Jones and Stephen Crank finished seventh, while the No. 2 duo of Ricky Arnel and Kyle Beard placed eighth, matching their pre-tournament seedings.

The girls take to the court today, starting at 8 a.m. with the No. 1 and 2 singles playing at the high school, the No. 1 doubles at Spaulding Park and No. 2 doubles at Honor Heights and Muskogee Country Club.

Ashley Beavers of the Lady Roughers is seeded sixth at No. 1 singles, while Nolan Ryan King is unseeded at No. 2 singles. The No. 1 doubles team of Linzy Gaston-Laura Jardine is seeded seventh and the No. 2 duo of Kaleigha Fields and Alex Rosson is fourth. The doubles seedings changed Friday due to some lineup shifts among other teams.

Muskogee’s teams play at McAlester on Tuesday and Ada on Friday and Saturday.

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