Grain Valley High School’s Kendra Sibert and Ryan Deaton are close friends.
They play three sports together for the Eagles – basketball, soccer and tennis. That duo showed they are a natural fit together during the KC Summer Slam Series girls varsity doubles tennis tournament – the Jaguar Slam – Friday at Blue Springs South High School.
Sibert and Deaton defeated Blue Springs South’s Khiara Cox and and Grace Allen 6-4 to earn medals.
“It was good to get back out there,” Deaton said. “This was our first time playing together since last season. It felt pretty good.”
That victory capped off a big week for Deaton, who also won the varsity girls singles bracket Thursday when she defeated Liberty’s Rebecca Florey 6-3.
Deaton knows exactly where she’s going to put her medals.
“They are going right on the mantle,” she quipped.
She played doubles with Sibert during the 2017 season, and the duo built chemistry during the fall season and wanted to get warmed up for the upcoming high school girls season, which starts in August.
“We communicate really good,” Sibert said. “We also calm each other down because you can get easily frustrated in tennis. We bounce off of each other and work well together.”
Facing a team that they might see in the upcoming season proved to be a good test for the duo.
“It was close because it started getting tight up there. But we regrouped and focused and went back to the way we played,” Sibert said.
The tournament also was a good test for Deaton to prepare for singles play.
“I ended up playing six (matches) the whole day,” Deaton said, “but it was worth it.”
Playing in the doubles tournament was worth it for Cox and Allen as they could potentially play together for the high school season.
“I think since Grace and I don’t always play together, that we did really well,” Cox said. “We made the other team work and they made us work as well.”
Added Allen: “I think we work really well together. Khiara is a really good player. I love that they do this every year. It’s good practice during the summer.”
On the boys side, Lee’s Summit North’s Joe Hammerly took first in the varsity singles tournament after an 8-5 win in the finals. Last year, during the Summer Slam Series, Hammerly’s best finish was third.
“It was tough getting third (last year) because I wanted first,” said Hammerly, who was North’s No. 1 singles player in the spring. “I trained in the offseason and I had a goal in mind to win there, and I did.
“The championship match was a battle. It was blazing out here and we’re both exhausted. I was able to get the win because I played to my strengths and his weaknesses. Hopefully I can get first in the others (Summer Slam Series tournaments), too.”
Hammerly defeated Blue Springs’ Luke David in the semifinals. David rebounded to take the third-place match.
“I thought I could make the finals, but I didn’t play very well,” David said. “Every game went to a deuce (in the semifinals), I just couldn’t finish it off.”
In other results, North’s Nick Mathis and Michael Walsh took second in the boys varsity doubles; South’s Sammy and Francesca Klosener took second and North’s in mixed doubles Mathis and Madisen Smith were third in mixed doubles; William Chrisman’s Jordan Twenter and Carl Clevenger took second and Grain Valley’s Hunter Jones and Tristin Whitton finished third in JV/novice boys doubles; Grain Valley’s Chelsea Gorden and Finley LaForge took first and second, respectively and North’s Olivia Neidt was third in girls novice singles; South’s Ashley Cooper, Paige Fallis and Jackie Bertoncin took first, second and third, respectively in JV girls singles; North’s Sarah Green and Kelly Young took first in JV/novice girls doubles, South’s Fallis and Hannah Tawney were second and South’s Cooper and Natalie Nelson were third; and in boys JV singles, Chrisman’s Sam Hawley took first, South’s Jason Epps took second and South’s Brock Dunlap was third.