Saturday night Altus High School graduates Taylor Busby, of 2015, and Justin Jones, of 2008, walked off the tennis courts after playing four sets in less than four hours to secure the mixed-doubles title division of the open.
The duo knocked off a team of siblings, Abbey Phelps, a rising sophomore at Lawton’s Eisenhower High School and Jacob Phelps, a rising seventh-grader, in the finals 6-3.
“The mixed doubles was a very high caliber of play” said Jesse Stovall, tournament director. “When I was putting this division together of nine teams, I considered having two groups — one for the five teams I considered the better half and four for the teams I considered a bit weaker. For logistic reasons, I opted for one nine-team bracket. I was surprised and pleased how competitive this was. We had many of our matches decided at 6-4 or 7-5 and even a few went to tie breaks at 7-6. This was great viewing and it is hard to beat a tournament under those Altus lights.”
In the third place match, Altus girls’ Coach Shelby Vinyard teamed with Dustin Skiles for third place honors with a 6-2 victory over 2016 AHS graduate Shalee Maahs and her partner Michael Robinson. Winning consolation honors was 2015 Lawton High School graduate Justin Bailey. He teamed with 2015 Rider High School graduate Brooke Lassiter from Wichita Falls, Texas. Lassiter is a member of the Midwestern State University tennis team in Wichita Falls.
The gender doubles started at 11 a.m. Saturday and ended late that afternoon.
“We had three junior high boys ready to play and several high-school-age girls or older,” Stovall said. “We just elected to have one bracket for both genders.”
Phelps teamed with Lassiter to win the eight-team event. The pair edged out Vinyard and her sister, rising sophomore Savannah Skiles 9-7.
In the semifinals earlier in the day, Lassiter and Phelps squeaked by the tough team of Anadarko High School rising senior Alexis Toles and her class of 2015 Anadarko partner, Tayra Ward, in a 9-8 tie breaker.
Vinyard and Skiles took out the team of brothers from Eisenhower, Jacob and Joseph Phelps 8-5. In the third place match, Toles and Ward won 8-4 over the Phelps boys.
The tournament started at 11 a.m. Friday with girls’ singles.
Toles, Ward and Skiles of Clinton, joined Altus players Gracia Lewis, Chloe Cox and Isabella Darby for round-robin play.
“Since we had an even split of three girls from Altus and three not from Altus, we thought it would be more of a learning experience to play three girls from another town,” Stovall said. “The Anadarko girls are more than two years older than the Altus girls and the Clinton girl, Skiles.”
“The Skiles girl and the two from Andarko ended up winning all matches, but the Altus girls looked good,” Stovall said. “I coach at MacArthur (High School) and I know how good these Altus girls are and how mentally tough they are. I saw toughness and excellent shot selection in the Lady Bulldogs. Playing excellent (and older) players makes you better faster. These three have a great high school career in front of them.”
Another tennis tournament is scheduled in Lawton next weekend. Male and female singles are slated Friday, gender doubles to start late Saturday morning and mixed doubles are set for Saturday night.
For more information visit stovalltennis.net or call 580-481-4190.