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Thursday, July 24, 2014

SHS tennis wins district

Friday, May 12, 2006

(Photo)
Sikeston's Charlie Jones returns a shot. Looking on is his doubles partner Andrew Powell.
SIKESTON -- The Sikeston Bulldog tennis team made the state playoffs for the sixth straight year as they captured the Class 1, District 1 championship on Thursday afternoon at Sikeston High School.

Sikeston tallied 34.5 team points, out-pacing second place Charleston's 23.5 points. Charleston also qualifies for the state playoffs for the third time in four years.

The victory for Sikeston secured its fourth district championship under head coach Brian James, who is in his seventh year.

In the process, Sikeston qualified three for the state tennis tournament.

The doubles team of Clayton Matthews and Sam Zhao held true to their top seed as they captured the district championship by defeating Charleston's defending champions Blake Branum and Derek Hoppe, 6-4, 6-4.

(Photo)
Clayton Matthews
Also, Sikeston's Chris Matthews, seeded third, upset No. 2 seed Thomas Fowler of Dexter, 6-4, 6-4, to advance to the championship match where he was defeated by Festus top seed Nik Boyer, 6-4, 6-3.

First and second place individuals advance directly to state in Springfield on May 26-27.

"We had a really good day overall today," said James. "We battled some difficult weather conditions. It's nice to see a good team effort today. Tennis is an individual sport, but I try to promote the team aspect of it as well. "Everybody was pretty excited to win that team title. I'm proud of the whole team. Everybody did their part and we get a chance to send three guys to the state tournament."

Matthews and Zhao had no trouble advancing to the championship, winning every match in straight sets and none being closer than 6-3.

"Clayton and Sam played great all day," said James. "They took care of business in the early rounds and played a great championship match. It is quite an accomplishment for them to beat a team the caliber of Branum and Hoppe for the doubles championship. I've got a lot of respect for Charleston and their coach and players. I know Sam and Clay are excited for a chance to go to state as a district champion."

Chris Matthews also won all his matches in straight sets until his championship match with Boyer.

"It's nice to see him rewarded with a state trip after four years," said James. "He's put in his time and as a senior gets a chance to go to state. Logan had a great tournament as well. He's gotten so much better over the past couple of years and I know he was wanting to make it to the championship match, but I believe he'll get over the hump next year and be one of the top individuals in the district next year. I'm proud of Chris and Logan for hanging in there. They've played the top two spots for most of the year and have had some tough matches, but all that good competition paid off for them today when it counted."

Sikeston also got big team points out of singles player Logan Hampton and the doubles team of Andrew Powell and Charlie Jones.

Hampton advanced to the semifinals where he fell to Boyer in a tough, three-

set match, 5-7, 6-3, 6-1.

Powell and Jones also reached the semifinals before falling to Hoppe and Branum in a hotly contested match, 7-5, 6-4.

"Charlie and Andrew surpassed my expectations today," said James.

"They really stepped it up. I told them I needed them to win their first two rounds of matches -- which they did -- then they go and knock off the No. 3 seed in the quarterfinals. They played great for a set against Branum and Hoppe, but just fell a little short. They've improved tremendously over the past few weeks and a lot of that is due to Craig Millington and Justin Deere pushing them so hard for that No. 2 doubles spot in districts. Andrew and Charlie had to battle for that spot and all that competition helped them here today."

Sikeston will now move on to the regional round on Tuesday, May 16 against Festus in a new format for this season.

The district champion will square off against the fourth place team while the No. 2 team, Charleston, will take on No. 3 Dexter.

The two winners of those matches will travel to St. Louis next Saturday to play the winners of District. 2