• South's doubles teams square off in district finals

  • For a brief period Friday, Alec Barber decided to give a couple of his teammates on the Blue Springs South boys tennis team a total cold shoulder.

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  • For a brief period Friday, Alec Barber decided to give a couple of his teammates on the Blue Springs South boys tennis team a total cold shoulder.
    The guys Barber decided to freeze out, Lake Kinzel and Jose Garchitorena didn’t do anything to tick Barber off. Far from it – those are two of his buddies. But Friday was the Class 2 District 14 individual singles and doubles tournament, and Kinzel and Garchitorena ended up being Barber and Paul Province’s opponents in the finals of the doubles bracket.
    So for Barber, that meant a strict no-talking policy until the conclusion of the match, which Barber and Province won 6-1, 6-0 at Lee’s Summit North High School.
    “We really just wanted to walk out here with our game faces on, focus and we just wanted to shout out every team,” said Barber, who teamed with Province to down Blue Springs’ Brice Webb and Gregory Evans 6-0, 6-1 in the semifinals. “We wanted to treat every opponent respectfully, but still as an opponent. You can be friendly, but you can’t be friends whenever you’re playing a competitive game.”
    Webb and Evans faced the same scenario in the third-place match, where they topped teammates Sam Phillips and Mitchell Wilhoit 8-6. The top two finishers in singles and doubles advance to Wednesday’s sectional at Belton.
    “In the beginning, no offense, but after the first game (against Province and Barber), I kind of just didn’t want to play,” Evans said. “Either way, we’re going to get third or fourth and medal, but it’s just like, ‘Oh my God.’”
    Some history was made in the singles bracket, as Lee’s Summit North senior Austin Nicholas edged Blue Springs South’s Jared Martin 6-4, 6-2 to become the first singles player in program history to capture a singles district crown.
    Nicholas, the No. 2 seed, defeated South’s Brent Henderson 6-2, 6-3 in the semifinals and bested Blue Springs’ Caleb Boyd 6-1, 6-0 in the quarterfinals.
    “It feels awesome,” Nicholas said. “I didn’t expect at the beginning of the season to even make it this far, but now that I’ve done it, all the hard works’ paid off and it feels great.”
    Martin navigated his way to the championship match despite entering the tournament as the No. 8 seed. On Thursday, he upset top-seeded Zach Felz (Truman), who is battling a leg injury, 6-1, 6-1, and then bested Blue Springs’ Chad Stohlmann 6-1, 6-1 in Friday’s semifinals before losing to Nicholas.
    “I felt like a couple shots here or there different and it could have been an even longer match,” South coach Sheri Rehmer said. “I think Nicholas played well. His game plan, especially against Brent, was great. He played really well and Jared’s got nothing to be ashamed of. I’m extremely proud of him. He’s really turned it on the last couple weeks and come through.”
    Page 2 of 2 - In the third-place singles match, Henderson clipped Stohlmann 9-7.
    Despite not advancing anyone to sectional, Blue Springs coach Jody McClain gave her team credit for battling all season despite only bringing back one varsity player from last year’s squad (Stohlmann).
    “We went pretty far,” McClain said. “Way farther than I thought we would go.”
    Follow Shawn Garrison on Twitter: @GarrisonEJC

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