The end point Friday didn’t matter as much as the destination to get there for Blue Springs South boys tennis player Paul Province.
The Jaguar senior fell 6-4, 6-0 to Barstow’s Fletcher Scott for the A singles championship in the Blue Springs Tournament. But Province did well to get to that point, and his effort helped the Jaguars finish fourth in the eight-team field at Santa Fe Trail Park in Independence.
Barstow won both singles flights and A doubles to total 29 points for the team title. Pembroke Hill followed with 25 points, Lee's Summit West edged South for third 22-21 and Warrensburg nipped St. Joseph Central for fifth 15-14. Blue Springs and William Chrisman tied for seventh with nine points.
After a 10-5 win over St. Joseph Central’s Van Hopkins in the first round, Province had his serve broken twice and faced a 9-5 hole against Lee’s Summit West’s Franklin Zhong in the semifinals. He battled back to 10-10 and force the tiebreaker, which he cruised through 7-1.
“I came back from a little bit of a deficit in the second match,” Province said. “Getting over that hump was a great way to go forward.”
“When you’re playing at that level, playing two breaks down, it’s tough,” South coach Nathan Mooney added, “and he battled back.”
In the finals, Province kept pace until Scott broke serve to win the first set. In the second he never recovered from a quick service break, saying afterward that Scott had too strong an all-around game.
“He has every weapon in the arsenal,” Province said. “I tried to work toward his backhand, but his backhand is almost as solid as his forehand.”
In addition to Province, South got a runner-up finish in B doubles from Dalton Michael and José Garchitorena. The freshman-senior duo beat a Lee’s Summit West pair 10-7 and pulled away from Barstow for a 10-6 win before falling 6-2, 6-0 to Pembroke Hill brothers Josh and Noah Bortnik.
“José’s come on real strong – he’s had two big wins this week,” Mooney said. “(He has improved) more so in singles, but it’s carried over to doubles.”
South’s A doubles tandem of Nic Mandina and Jared Martin lost to a West foe 10-8, beat Warrensburg 8-6 and battled past Blue Springs’ Sam Phillips and Mitchell Wilhoit in a tiebreaker 9-8 (7-3).
In B singles, Chrisman’s Taniela Faletau beat South’s Eric Horn in another tiebreaker, 9-8 (8-6) for fifth place. That represented the Bears’ best finish, as Chrisman’s Nic Hurt took sixth in A singles and both doubles teams were eighth.
Blue Springs’ B doubles team of Aidan Martin and Jordan Young also finished sixth, while Spenser Morgan won his last B singles match for seventh place and Blake Summers was eighth in A singles.
“They knew coming in was going to be a very competitive tournament,” Blue Springs coach Jody McClain said. “I wanted to get them some seeds, but all the brackets were laden with top players.
“It’s definitely good exposure for them. You always play better when you play with someone better.”