(Town Crier photo/Trent Fletcher)
Riverside entered Wednesday afternoon's District Tennis Tournament at Jonesboro's Allen Park determined to bring home the team title. Mission accomplished.
Led by dominating performances in doubles play, the Rebels atoned for runner-up finishes the past two seasons.
"It was a really good day," said Riverside Tennis Coach Terry Conner. "It was great winning the team title. Getting both our doubles teams in the finals and qualifying for state was what we were shooting for."
The number one seeded team of Casey Hook and Glen Graham pulled out a close 7-5 victory in the first set and coasted 6-1 in the second set to claim the championship over teammates Garrett Weaver and Cody Richardson. Both teams will advance to state tournament action.
Hook and Graham received a first round bye before defeating the Ridgefield Christian duo of Reese Thrasher and Stephen Smith. Hook and Graham, who went undefeated during the regular season, downed the Ridgefield pair in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2, in the semi-finals, setting up a showdown with their Rebel teammates.
Weaver and Richardson handily defeated Ridgefield's Derek Reed and Nick Pechilis,
6-0, 6-0, in their first round match. Weaver and Richardson took another straight set victory in their semi-final match over the Crowley's Ridge Academy duo of Jake Wallis and Kade Dickerson, 6-3, 6-2, to reach the finals.
On the singles side, Riverside's Cam Casey out-slugged CRA's Lucas Horn with a grueling 7-6, 4-6, 7-5 victory in first round action. Casey dropped his semi-final match to Walnut Ridge's Wesley Davis, 6-3, 6-4. In the consolation match to determine a state tournament berth, Casey came up just short, losing to Ridgefield's Adam Morgan, 6-4,
6-1. Morgan had advanced to the consolation round with a victory over Riverside's Nick Bagley, 2-6, 6-3, 6-3.
"I was really impressed by Cam today. He really played his heart out. All the kids did a great job and played hard. I am very pleased with the team championship," said Conner, who was named Coach of the Year, leading the Rebels to an unbeaten season heading into the state tournament.