Vicksburg rolls to Abraham championship|[5/06/06]

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 8, 2006

The rain went away and nearly all the city’s high school tennis players got to play Friday at the Julie Abraham Memorial Tournament at Halls Ferry Park.

Vicksburg High dominated by winning four of the five varsity titles. The Gators ended with 8 match points to beat out St. Aloysius with 4 and Warren Central’s 3.

Vicksburg can now look forward to the Class 5A State Tennis Tournament, which begins Monday at Parham Bridges Tennis Center in Jackson.

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One of those will be Gators singles player Jordan Henry who is the top seed in the 5A boys draw, this despite devoting most of his time to the Gators baseball team. Vicksburg was eliminated Monday night by Northwest Rankin in a 5A quarterfinal series.

&#8220I was pretty bummed out that we lost to Northwest Rankin like we did,” Henry said. &#8220But tennis and baseball are two completely different things.

&#8220I like where my game is right now. And this tournament helps me out a lot.”

He had little trouble in winning both of his matches to claim the Abraham boys singles title. He lost just one game, to St. Al’s Matthew Jenkins. He blanked WC rookie Paul Pruddome who played singles after Nick Melby was moved to boys’ doubles.

The move also helped create the day’s best match in boys doubles. Melby and his partner, Steven Faulks, beat St. Al’s Hardy Farris and Chris Guizerix 6-2, 6-4. Vicksburg’s Willie Brown and Jordan McBride also beat the St. Al pair, 6-2, 6-4 to set up the final.

Brown and McBride won the first set 6-3, but they got into trouble in the second. It was 5-5 and the Viking pair of Faulks and Melby was within a point of breaking McBride’s serve.

Brown and McBride rallied with three straight points to hold serve. Faulks had an ad-in on his serve to send it to a tie-break at 6-6. But a McBride volley winner produced a deuce. Then on match-point, Brown slammed home a winner from the net to lock up the match at 6-3, 7-5.

&#8220It was our fault that the match kept going like it did in the second set,” McBride said. &#8220We’ve played Warren Central three times this year, but this was the first time they had Nick in there on doubles.”

For Brown, winning the Abraham Tournament gives the duo momentum into the state tournament.

&#8220It feels good to win this. We’ve got a good opening draw at state with Natchez,” said Brown, who last year hurt his hand the weekend before the state tournament. &#8220I ran my hand into a mat while playing basketball. There won’t be any basketball this time.”

Vicksburg’s Christine Figueroa did not lose a game in sweeping to the girls title, winning both matches 6-0, 6-0. Hannah Ludke of St. Al finished second after beating WC’s Jill Shirley 7-5, 6-2.

The Gators girls’ doubles team of Catherine Figueroa and Grace Ga-as beat WC’s Kaitlyn Shelton and Mary Clare Scurria 6-0, 6-0 and St. Al’s Lauren Fordice and Alex Cowart 6-1, 6-0 to cinch the fourth VHS title.

St. Al’s mixed doubles team of Bonney Neill and Jeremy White was the lone non-VHS team to win in the varsity draw.

Neill and White beat Vicksburg’s Heather Baker and Vin Ga-as 6-2, 6-0 and WC’s Seth Hudspeth and Kerri-Taylor Leech 6-0, 6-1. Leech and Hudspeth, who are the only WC qualifiers for the state tournament, got a win by beating the VHS pair 6-3, 6-3.

In the JV bracket, Vicksburg’s Brandy Ratliff won girls’ singles, Thomas Escousse of St. Al took the boys’ singles, while WC’s Lexie Strong and Brittany Kolb took girls’ doubles. Vicksburg won both boys’ doubles behind Coleman Morrison and partner Eric Holland and the No. 2 team of Ryan Fisher and Raymond Perrier.