Tigers and Panthers tangle on tennis court

Published 11:09 am Tuesday, February 28, 2023

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By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

The two high school tennis teams in Chilton County clashed on Feb. 23 at Clanton City Park with Chilton County and Jemison high schools facing off. The two schools split the contest with Jemison winning the boy’s matches 7-2 and CCHS winning the girl’s matches 8-1. CCHS secured the overall win 10-8.

“We just appreciate the rivalry with Jemison,” CCHS coach David McCary said. “The coaches are first-class people and handle themselves and their team with class, and we are blessed to have a rivalry with them.”

CCHS girl’s team had six winners in the singles matches led by number one player Lydia Harton with an 8-3 win.

“She continues to have a great season, just like she has done in the past,” McCary said. “She played really well.”

The Tigers’ Blair Little won 8-0, Julie Som won 8-5, Helen Nguyen won 8-1 and Millie Cleckler won 8-1 all in girl’s singles action. Jemison’s Zoie Young was the lone Panthers girl’s singles winner.

Jemison coach Brandi Bean said the Panthers were without a few top girl’s players for the contest, but was pleased with how her younger players stepped in to fill those voids.

“We had to work out some kinks, and we were missing a few of our top girls who should be back before area matches begin,” Brandi Bean said. “The girls who stepped in did a really good job.”

In girl’s doubles play, CCHS swept all three matches with Harton and Lily Roselle winning 8-2, Little and Som 8-5 and Nguyen and Millie Cleckler 8-0.

The boy’s singles saw Jemison flex its muscle in the contest where Grey Kendrick, Coda Henderson and Cathen Colwell all earned wins. The Panthers picked up two more default wins in the boy’s singles matches.

In the number one match, Colin Cleckler of CCHS outlasted Jemison’s Tanner Bean 9-7 in a highly contested game. McCary said that match and Roselle’s girl’s single match were the highlights of his team’s day. He hopes his younger players were able to learn something for both matches.

“Every point was well played, and both players left it all on the court,” McCary said. “I hope the younger players can learn the determination, the focus and what it takes to compete at that level and absorb it, so it can be a part of their game.”

Tanner Bean, Jemison’s number five player last season, moved to number one this year, and the contest was his first match as the new JHS number one player.

“I was proud of his effort,” Brandi Bean said. “He definitely saw where his weaknesses were and what he needs to work on to be more focused for the next match. I liked his resilience through the match, and I think he will be more prepared for the next one.”

Tanner Bean and Henderson won their doubles match over CCHS, but the Tigers’ Duan Sosa and Samuel Sims won theirs to tie the boy’s doubles action at one all.