OXFORD Who’s the favorite to win the state championship in Class 2A tennis this year?
Ask Tupelo High School coach Amy Long or Golden Wave players Jack Wilson and Ginger Brake. They’ll tell you to watch out for Greenville St. Joseph.
St. Joe captured championship victories in boys singles, girls singles, boys doubles and mixed doubles to win the fourth annual Oxford Invitational high school tennis tournament Saturday at the John Leslie Tennis Complex.
“I would definitely say they (St. Joe) would be the favorite,” said Tupelo’s Long after watching St. Joe defeat two of her players in the singles championships.
St. Joe’s Carlisle McGee handed Tupelo’s Wilson his first loss of the season, winning the singles title in straight sets 6-3, 7-5. McGee broke Wilson’s service twice in the first set and rallied from a 5-1 deficit in the second set to win six consecutive games and the match.
“In the first set he just beat me,” Wilson said. “I got off to a slow start. I got off to a good start in the second set and broke his serve twice. But I tightened up and he hit some good passing shots. That’s what helped bring him back.”
McGee said the key for him was staying calm after he fell behind 5-1 in the second set to Wilson.
“I just tried to keep the ball in,” McGee said. “He (Wilson) is a really tough player.”
Wilson beat New Albany’s Jason Cousar 6-2, 6-1 and downed Corinth’s Josh Bryant 6-2, 6-2 to reach the finals.
In the girls’ singles championship match, St. Joe’s Gretchen Misner blanked Tupelo’s Brake 6-0, 6-0.
“I was doing good to get her serve back,” said Brake, a sophomore. “Every time I’d hit one she would hit a winner off of it.”
Brake defeated Oxford’s Ashley MacKenzie 6-1, 6-1 and New Albany’s Kim Henson 6-3, 6-1 to reach the finals.
Tupelo didn’t get shut out in the tournament, as seniors Sadie Gardner and Erin Montgomery defeated Corinth, New Albany and Shannon to win the girls doubles title.
Gardner and Montgomery, who are 13-0 this season, defeated Shannon’s Ashley Edwards and April Mask 6-0, 6-0 in the finals. They beat Corinth’s Anne Marie Moore and Kate Adams 6-0, 6-0 and defeated New Albany’s Anna Pope and Ginger Pope 6-4, 6-0 in the semifinals.
“Our semifinal match was the toughest; we had trouble getting started,” Gardner said.
In other title matches, St. Joe’s Brad Mazzanti and Mandy Hillis defeated Meridian’s Ian Makey and Kimberly Shirley 6-3, 7-5 in mixed doubles, and St. Joe’s Jimmy Carr and David Misner beat Grenada’s Andy Holliday and Michael Leflore 6-2, 6-2 in the boys doubles final.
Tupelo’s boys doubles team of Will Stewart and Jeff Caldwell lost 6-2, 6-1 to St. Joe in the semifinals after beating Shannon’s Chad Mask and Ronnie Johnson 6-0, 6-3 in the opener.
In mixed doubles, Tupelo’s Denny Morse and Melissa Burgette lost 6-2, 6-2 to St. Joe in the semifinals after beating New Albany’s Jim McKinney and Sarah Hamilton 6-4, 6-0 in the opener.