(Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)
Glen Graham and Casey Hook gave Riverside their second State Doubles Championship in the last three years with a 6-3, 6-1 straight set victory over Parker's Chapel's J. McKimmey and R. Hayes at the 2A Boys State Tennis Championships held Oct. 15-16 at the Coronada Tennis Center in Hot Springs Village.
Graham and Hook's doubles championship, along with the quarter-final finish of Riverside's number two doubles duo of Cody Richardson and Garrett Weaver, also vaulted the Rebels to their third consecutive team runner-up finish. Riverside finished just three points behind state champion Acorn.
Graham and Hook breezed through the tournament, winning their quarter-final match,
6-2, 6-1, over Crowley's Ridge Academy's Jake Wallis and Cade Dickerson. The Rebel pair easily defeated Westside-Greers Ferry's doubles team of Gentry and Carr, 6-4, 6-0, in the semifinals, before knocking off McKimmey and Hayes in the finals.
Richardson and Weaver won their first round match, 6-0, 6-2, over Mulberry's Schneider and McFeeters. The Rebel seniors dropped a heartbreaking 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (11-9) marathon in the quarter-finals to the Weiner team of Aaron Riley and Chism Flemon, a team Richardson and Weaver had beaten earlier in the year.
"Glen and Casey had no problems advancing to the finals," said Riverside Coach Terry Conner. "Their best match occurred in the semi-finals against Westside-Greers Ferry. It was the most impressive match I've seen them play. Glen was just unstoppable at the net and Casey's serves and ground strokes gave the other team all kinds of problems. In the finals, Glen and Casey controlled the match from beginning to end. I am very proud of all the guys. They have worked so hard and the state championship has been their goal. What they have accomplished during their senior year has been amazing. They are really looking forward to the overall state championships and we think we have a good chance."
"Garrett and Cody fought so hard in the second round against Weiner," continued Conner. "We had the momentum going into the tiebreaker and had the lead, but just let it slip away. I give a lot of credit to Weiner's Aaron Riley, who had one of the hardest serves in the tournament, and he really put it to use in the tiebreaker. Garrett and Cody gave it their all and had a terrific season."
The Lady Rebels saw both doubles teams reach the semi-finals before dropping two tough two-set matches. Riverside's number one doubles team of Katey Campbell and Morgan Emery defeated the Cedar Ridge team of Hoffman and Pelley, 6-1, 6-1, in their first round match before blitzing the Guy-Perkins duo of Saylors and Poole, 6-0, 6-1, in the quarter-finals. Campbell and Emery lost a hard fought 7-5, 6-3 decision to the eventual state runner-up pair of K. Forbes and A. Fitzgerald of Parker's Chapel in the semi-finals.
The surprise team of the tournament turned out to be Riverside's Holly Dudley and Taylor Boness, who battled their way to the semi-finals before losing to the eventual state champions M. McCall and M. Lein of Parker's Chapel, 6-4, 6-3. The Lady Rebel pair won their first round match over Weiner's Mallory Jordan and McKenzie Bartholomew, 6-0, 6-4, then defeated Westside-Greers Ferry's Pearson and Magness 6-3, 7-6, to reach the semi-finals.
"Holly and Taylor were the surprise of the tournament," said Conner. "They took out the number four seed from Weiner in the first round before winning their second round match. They had to face the number one seed in the semi-finals and did a great job of keeping the match close. I couldn't have been more pleased with the way they played."
"Morgan and Katey breezed through their first two rounds before going up against Parker's Chapel," said Conner. "The first set really took a lot out of the girls. They fought hard to try and take the second set, but fell a little short. They played with a lot of heart and emotion. They are just a great team together. I know they are already setting goals for next year."
"I feel very fortunate to have such a great group of young men and women. You can always count on Riverside athletes to give it their all. I couldn't be more proud of a bunch of kids," concluded Conner.