By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
JACKSON – Jordan Roberts won a silver medal in girls singles at last season’s MHSAA Tennis Championships.
“I didn’t like it too much,” Shannon’s sophomore said. “I worked a lot harder this year.”
Roberts’ work paid huge dividends Thursday at Bridges Tennis Center, where she defeated Shannon St. Clair of Newton County 6-1, 3-6, 6-2 to win the 4A state title and a gold medal. Roberts won gold as an eighth grader, but lost in last season’s finals.
Against St. Clair, an opponent she defeated in three sets during last year’s state semifinals, Roberts had her slices and lob shots working well in the opening set.
St. Clair, however, rallied in the second set.
“I guess I got too relaxed,” Roberts said, then smiled. “I loosened up too much in the second set. I hit some lazy shots and I got mad.
“I talked with my coach (Mark Montgomery) and it calmed me down.”
New Albany’s Olivia Dunnam and Hannah Anderson made it look easy, winning their 4A girls doubles final 6-2, 6-2 against West Lauderdale’s Rebekah Jackson and Rachel Sollie.
“We played consistent,” Anderson said. “We kept the ball in play.”
Dunnam and Anderson didn’t qualify for the state tournament last season.
“We were more determined,” said Dunnam, a senior. “We wanted to prove to everybody that we should be down here.”
Tupelo’s Robert Thompson and Andrew Hildenbrand ran into a tough duo in the 6A boys doubles finals. Jack Wilson and Mason Vice of Ocean Springs beat the Golden Wave 6-3, 6-3.
“I thought we played pretty well,” Thompson said. “We could have played a better match, but our opponent was tough.”
Pontotoc sophomores Jacob Ferguson and Ryan Henry defeated rival New Albany in the semifinals and looked poised to bring home a 4A boys doubles title.
Newton County’s David Brand and Bryden Reed, who lost the first set 7-6 to Pontotoc, rallied to win 6-4, 6-3.
“It just didn’t fall our way,” Henry said.
Added Ferguson, “We weren’t as consistent today. We didn’t hit the shots we’d been hitting the first two rounds.”
In Class 2A boys singles at Ridgeland, Nettleton’s Hayden Lee dropped a 6-1, 6-2 decision in the finals to Larry Qu of St. Andrew’s.
In Class 5A, Oxford’s Arlis Williams and Callan Shinall (boys doubles) and Baxter Elliott and Kara Rose (mixed doubles) won state titles.