Phoenix staff report
OKLAHOMA CITY — Muskogee High School’s Connor Finerty counts five times that he’s defeated Ponca City’s Blake Langston in their high school tennis careers, but he couldn’t make it a sixth time on Friday at the state tournament at the Oklahoma City Tennis Center.
Finerty, seeded third at No. 1 singles, lost 7-5, 5-7, 6-1 to the sixth-seeded Langston in the quarterfinals.
“I played a good match, but he played out of his mind and he upset me,” Finerty said. “He didn’t do anything different. He had a really good day.”
Muskogee coach Rusty Bradley said Langston “couldn’t miss on his groundstrokes.”
“The tennis gods were with that kid,” Bradley said.
Finerty beat Tulsa Kelley’s Brin Bedewell 6-3, 6-1 in the first round.
Rusty Bradley also saw his son Shan, playing No. 2 singles, lose in the quarterfinals 6-1, 6-0 to Edmond North’s David Hager, the No. 1 seed and two-time state champion.
“Shan got a bad draw,” the older Bradley said. “It was very upsetting that he got Hager. I don’t know the last time Hagar lost a match. Shan had to play the match of his life.”
The younger Bradley said he was nominated to be the draw’s eighth seed and had to face Hager after beating Bartlesville’s Collin Sanders 6-4, 7-5 in his first match.
“I won my regional and finished no worse than fifth all year,” Shan said. “But I have no excuses. I didn’t play well enough.”
Finerty plays Stillwater’s Noah Smith and Bradley faces Choctaw’s Bailey Betz in consolation round matches at 9:30 a.m. today.
In No. 1 doubles, the Rougher duo Stephen Crank and Ryan Pearce lost 6-1, 6-0 to Broken Arrow’s Mason Bridgean and Ian Sims, the top seed. The MHS duo then defeated Enid’s Connor Angleton and Jason Christopherson 6-0, 6-4 in the consolation first round.
They play a 10 a.m. consolation match against Norman’s Josh Marrs and Matt Carter.
In Class 5A, Tahlequah’s Connor Nelson at No. 1 singles, the Tigers’ Leon Beck at No. 2 singles and the No. 1 doubles team of Lars Gris and Hunter Manes lost by default in the opening round.
“We had some issues with the van,” Tahlequah coach Mike Leafgreen said. “We got to the tournament 20 minutes late and the tournament director said he had to default our kids. I hated it. I thought they would give us a little leeway. But our kids bounced back and we put all of that behind us.”
While Beck lost 6-1, 6-4 to Bixby’s Charlie Christy, Nelson beat Oklahoma Christian School’s Joel Tinker 7-5, 6-2 and Gris and Manes beat Bixby’s Jimmy Kuelger and Brandon Turney 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 in consolation.
Nelson plays Tulsa Washington’s Micah Cash while Gris and Manes face Heritage Hall’s Oakes Arceneaux and J.T. Zerby at 8 a.m. today
In Class 4A, Wagoner’s Chris Lindsay lost 6-0, 6-2 to Ada’s John Stout in the first round, but came back and beat Christian Heritage’s Parker Denton 6-3, 6-3 in the consolation first round. Lindsay faces Crossing Christian’s Lucas Meachem in the consolation bracket also at 8 a.m.