Town Crier Sports Staff
So close, yet so far. The Riverside doubles team of Jordan Adcock and Glen Graham came within an eyelash of winning the Rebel's second straight state doubles title, but came up just short as the Crowley's Ridge Academy duo of Jeremy Cohen and Jonathan Huggins teamed for a 6-3, 1-6, 7-6 (9-7) victory in the finals of the Class AA State Tournament Tuesday night at Fairfield Bay.
Adcock was gunning for his second consecutive state title after winning last year's championship with Tyler Timms. But in the rubber match between the two teams, it was Huggins and Cohen who came up with the right shots at the right time for an exciting come from behind victory, denying Adcock's bid.
Huggins and Cohen wasted little time in winning the first set, 6-3, but the Rebel duo found new life in the second set and blitzed the Falcon pair, 6-1. Adcock and Graham continued their strong play in the third set, building a 3-1 lead with chances to go up 4-1 twice. But Huggins and Cohen fought off both game points, which turned the match in the Falcon's favor.
With the third set tied 5-5 and CRA serving, the Rebels broke the Falcons serve and went up 6-5 with Graham serving for the title. CRA dug deep and broke back to even things up, sending the match into a tiebreaker.
The Falcons went up 6-5 and 7-6 in the tiebreaker, but both times Adcock and Graham fought off match points. But with the score 8-7 and Cohen serving, the senior lefthander smashed an Adcock lob shot for the game winner, giving CRA the hard fought state title.
"Jordan and Glen fought very hard, especially in that last set," said Riverside Coach Terry Conner. "But we just had trouble holding our serve. Jordan was very disappointed about not repeating, but we did a great job and you have to give credit to the CRA players. They served extremely well the entire match.
"Jordan and Glen had a great tournament and had a very tough match in the semifinals, and they gave all they had in the finals. They just came up a little short. Glen had an excellent year and Jordan was the leader of the team the entire season. It says a lot about him winning a state championship last season and being runner up this year. He capped off an excellent career and what makes it even more special was this was only his second year to play tennis."
Adcock and Graham, who came into the tournament as the number two seed, defeated the Jessieville pair of Schnell and Gallemore, 6-0, 6-0. They continued their winning ways in the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 6-1 win over McKinney and Hayes of Parkers Chapel, before winning a hard fought semifinal match against the third seeded Weiner team of Riley and Fleming, 6-4, 7-5.
Both Adcock and Graham were named All-State and will advance to Wednesday's Overall State Tournament at Rebsamen Park in Little Rock.
Riverside's other doubles team of Garrett Weaver and Casey Hook battled their way to the semifinals before losing a tough 3-6, 7-6 (9-7), 2-6 decision to the state championship team of Cohen and Huggins.
"We really battled back in the second set after dropping the first set," said Conner. "Both teams stayed on serve in the second set and we were able to win the tiebreaker. But in the third set, CRA just had too much firepower, especially with their serves. It was the same results as in the District. CRA beat both our doubles teams there also."
Hook and Weaver won their first round match with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over St. Joseph's fourth seeded team of Young and Paschel. In the quarterfinals, the Riverside pair wasted little time in disposing of Parker's Chapel's Benson and Snider, 6-1, 6-1.
"It was really big beating the number four seed and getting to the semifinals," Conner said. "We had a disappointing third set, but Casey and Garrett are very happy with their year, and I am proud of them for making it to the semifinals of the state tournament."
Cody Richardson won his first round match in singles play with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Weiner's Daniel Chatman. Richardson ran into the number two seed, Jack Kent of Walnut Ridge, in the quarterfinals, and dropped a 6-4, 6-2 decision. It was the pair's third meeting of the season, with each holding a victory a piece coming into the state tournament.
"Kent had a very good day, but Cody did everything he was supposed to do" said Conner. "Kent was just too much. This was Cody's first year in the state tournament, and he just did a great job."
In girls play, the Lady Rebel sophomore duo of Katey Campbell and Morgan Emery won their first round match by defeating the Decauter team of Lor and Lor, 6-0, 6-2. In the quarterfinals, the fourth seeded Parkers Chapel duo of McCall and Lein outlasted Campbell and Emery 6-4, 7-6 (11-9), in a marathon match.
"Katey and Morgan played really well together," said Conner. "Their first round match was one of the best they have played all year long. I am very proud of them for hanging with the fourth seeded team all the way in their quarterfinal match. They played extremely well all day. It says a lot for them considering McCall and Lein went on to win the state tournament.
"We had a very successful state tournament. Our boys team was state runner-up for the second consecutive year. Both our boys doubles team did a great job getting as far as they did, and our girls played some of the best tennis they have played all year long. We got rained out Monday, so it was a long day Tuesday playing from 9:00 in the morning until 9:00 at night. But all the teams were in the same boat."
"We had a great season and we have a lot of good athletes coming back for next year. I am very proud of the kids. They did a great job and deserve all the credit," Conner concluded.