By Gene Phelps
JACKSON – Tupelo can stake its claim as the state’s boys doubles capital in high school tennis.
In an all-Golden Wave finals Friday at the Bridges Tennis Center, the team of Andrew Hildenbrand and Mitch Ostrander outlasted teammates Hogan Harrington and Eric Huey to take a 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 win for the MHSAA Class 6A state championship.
“It’s hard to play your teammates,” Ostrander said. “We’re friends.”
It was the second third-set match of the day for Hildenbrand and Ostrander. They defeated Madison Central 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 earlier in the semifinals. Harrington and Huey breezed in their semifinal, knocking off Ocean Springs 6-3, 6-3.
Hildenbrand, a sophomore, and Ostrander, a junior, started strong in the championship match, taking a 4-1 lead on their way to a 6-3 win.
“We were cruising,” Hildenbrand said. “We felt loose and we were confident in our strokes.”
In the second set, Harrington, a freshman, and Huey, a seventh grader, made their move behind some consistent play on the baseline to win 7-5.
“We got tight and started missing a couple of shots,” Ostrander said.
In the deciding set, Hildenbrand and Ostrander fell behind 3-2, but rallied behind some strong serves and solid play at the net.
“We had to clear our heads after the second set,” Hildenbrand said.
Said Wave coach Laurie Bishop: “It was an incredible match. I’m excited for all four of them. We have some amazing talent.”
In other matches, the Wave’s Sarah Lambert Hollingsworth and Jessie Nabors lost in the girls doubles semifinals 6-1, 6-3 to Ocean Springs. Robert Thompson and Emily Carter fell 6-3, 6-0 to Madison Central in mixed doubles.
In the boys singles semifinals, Sebastian Rios lost 7-5, 6-0 to Ocean Springs’ Mason Vice.
In the Class 2A finals. East Webster’s Hayden Hill beat Union’s Brook Payne 6-1, 6-0 while teammates Holly Ellis and Samuel Butler beat Madison St. Joseph 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 in the mixed doubles championship.