Mitchell Wilhoit and Sam Phillips have been friends since they were in the first grade.
The two Blue Springs High School seniors have been doubles partners the past two years, and Monday afternoon at Young Park they clinched a 6-3 team victory over Grain Valley with a 10-4 win in the No. 1 singles match against Cody Zeigler and James Eubank.
“They are a natural doubles team,” Wildcats coach Jody McClain said. “They complement each other out on the court. They never get annoyed or angry with each other, and they have a great time as doubles partners.
“I just can’t imagine them playing with another partner.”
Neither can they. In fact, they are so in tune, they even finish each other’s sentences in a post-match interview.
“We’ve been playing together about three …” Wilhoit said before Phillips interjected, “No, the last two years.”
After conferring for a moment, they both agreed it was the past two years.
“If Sam misses something I just go for it,” Wilhoit said.
Phillips was quick to add, “Whiffs happen. If I whiff, he’s there to back me up.”
They seem to be having as much fun talking about their doubles match as they did playing.
“Blue Springs has not been known for its great doubles teams, so we’re trying to be as successful as possible,” Phillips said. “We both knew that if we won our match, we would beat Grain Valley, so that always adds something to the doubles match.
“It’s such an individual sport, so it’s fun to have a teammate to work with in doubles, and Mitchell and I really get along. It’s like we know what each other is thinking.”
The Wildcats won four singles matches with Phillips downing Eubank 10-6, Blake Summers stopping Jordan Snyder 10-1, Spenser Morgan getting past Chase Timmons 10-5 and Mark McFerren defeating T.J. Dobrik 10-4.
Zeigler won at No. 1 singles, stopping Wilhoit 10-6, and Jordan Young defeated the Wildcats’ Dayton Thurn at No. 5 singles 10-4.
“It’s great playing against a team from a big school like Blue Springs,” said Zeigler, who recently committed to play basketball at Central Methodist College. “We like a challenge. We had a lot of close matches today, and we were able to open up with a win and our No. 3 doubles team got a win, so we were competitive and this will only make us better in our conference matches.”
Summers and Young picked up a 10-4 win for the Wildcats at No. 2 doubles, and Grain Valley's Timmons and Thurn capped the day with a 10-7 victory at No. 3.
“So, so proud of the boys,” Grain Valley coach Mary Elliot said. “We were competitive in each of the matches and got wins in both doubles and singles. This is a great learning experience and will make us a stronger team.”