MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Sports

March 30, 2012

Rougher tennis on upswing heading into local tourney

— Starting with the boys ledger today, Muskogee’s going into its own tennis tournament with some momentum, while on Saturday, the girls will continue to try and establish themselves for a regional and state run later this spring.

The Roughers won their second tournament of the season Tuesday, capturing the Claremore Invitational. Connor Finerty in No. 1 singles and Shan Bradley in No. 2 singles both won their brackets as did Derrick Jones and Stephen Crank in No. 1 doubles. The No. 2 doubles of Ricky Arnall and Kyle Beard lost in the finals.

“Singles did like I had anticipated they might but the doubles teams were both unseeded so I was really pleased with them,” said Roughers coach Rusty Bradley.

Finerty (11-2) and Bradley (9-0), the coach’s son, both won three matches in straight sets, Bradley winning four of the six without losing a game. Finerty beat Stillwater’s No. 1 by 6-1, 6-2  in the finals and Bradley beat Claremore’s Derrick Brown 6-3, 6-0.

Jones and Crank beat Anadarko 6-1, 6-3 in the finals. They are now 10-3 on the season.

Arnall and Beard (6-6) won two matches but lost 6-1, 6-1 to Anadarko.

“I was a little surprised at this effort coming off spring break but we were up to the task and better than expected,” the coach said. “But we’ll get our biggest test this weekend. We obviously haven’t played the top teams yet.”

Edmond North, the defending 6A champion, won’t be one of those teams. Bradley wasn’t happy when he heard their JV will replace a squad that returned three division champs, all of whom will compete at a national tournament this week. So gone is David Hagar,the No. 2 singles champion last year. He beat Shan Bradley in the second round. Also, Finerty beat Daniel Martinez at the Jenks Invitational this year, avenging a loss in the fifth-place match at No. 1 singles at Oklahoma City last May. The Jenks tournament was Muskogee’s worst finish in four tournaments, coming in seventh.

Gone also are the two doubles champions from North.

“I didn’t like it but I understand if you have a chance to compete at a national level,” the MHS coach said. “They’re the dominant force but it’s still a strong tournament with a lot of the top 6A schools. It just puts more up for grabs.”

Finerty will be seeded No. 1 in his his division, Shan Bradley second at No. 2. Jones and Crank will be seeded seventh and Arnall and Beard eighth.

Muskogee’s girls have a pair of third-place team finishes, including one at Claremore on Wednesday.

Ashley Beavers will compete in No. 1 singles. She’s 11-7 on the year with her best finish a runner-up showing at Westmoore. At No. 2 singles, Nolan Ryan King is 6-9 but the second-year player is coming off her best finish, a consolation championship at Claremore

Both doubles are 10-6, Lindsey Gaston and Laura Jardine at 1 and Kaleigha Fields and Alex Rosson at 2.

Gaston and Jardine won the Westmoore tournament and the most impressive finish for Fields and Rosson came at Jenks where they were consolation champs after losing to Edmond North in the first round.

“We’re coming along considering we graduated half our team last year,” said Clay Blevins, the Lady Roughers coach.

Beavers, King and Gaston are seniors. Fields is a junior and Jardine and Rosson are sophomores.  Beavers is seeded sixth and the Gaston and Jardine are eighth and Fields and Rosson are seventh.

Seeds were being put together Thursday evening for the girls and weren’t available.

Muskogee Invitational

Competing: Muskogee, Bartlesville, Bixby, Broken Arrow, Cascia Hall, Edmond Memorial Edmond North, Edmond Santa Fe, Enid, Mustang, Owasso, Sand Springs, Southmoore, Westmoore, Union and Yukon.

 Schedule: Boys play Friday; girls Saturday. No. 1 and No. 2 singles are at Muskogee High School with No. 1 doubles at Spaulding Park and No. 2 doubles at both Honor Heights Park and Muskogee Country Club.

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