• Jaguars advance to finals

  • Thirteen proved to be coach Sheri Rehmer's lucky number Tuesday.

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  • Thirteen proved to be coach Sheri Rehmer's lucky number Tuesday.
    On a sun-drenched afternoon her Blue Springs South boys tennis team barely broke a sweat in topping injury-riddled Truman 5-0 in the Class 2 District 14 semifinals at Young Park.
    In the team district format, the first squad to claim five victories wins the match, so there were no doubles matches played.
    “I challenged the guys to go out and take care of business,” said Rehmer, as the Jaguars needed just over an hour and a half to claim a victory that left them with a 13-1 record this season. “We know Truman is down, but a team like that can be dangerous.
    “I didn't want anyone to take them lightly. And they didn't. It was just one of those afternoons where the stars were all aligned just right with the victory, the weather and all this sunshine. We're not used to playing in such nice weather.”
    Paul Province got the South victory express off to a solid start with a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Nick Wagner at No. 1 singles. Alex Barber followed with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Jared Welch at No. 2.
    Lake Kinzel downed Jake Hayward 6-0, 6-0 at No. 4, Jared Martin topped Jake Ritchel 6-0, 6-1 at No. 5, and Nick Mandina defeated Chris Jewell 6-1, 6-3 at No. 6.
    South's Brent Henderson and Truman's Sam Heacock were still on the court when the Jaguars picked up their decisive fifth victory.
    “When I play Truman, it's special because Steve (Winship, Barber's stepdad) coached at Truman and knows all the kids,” Barber said. “Steve was here today and I like to play well when he's watching because he's such a respected coach in the area.
    “I think it was important for us to come in here and play well, stay humble and take care of business, and we did that.”
    South will meet the winner of Tuesday's second district match between Lee's Summit North and Blue Springs.
    “We'll be psyched to play either one of those teams tomorrow,” Barber added. “North is in our conference and Blue Springs is our big crosstown rival. It's important to get plenty of sleep tonight, get a good meal and come out tomorrow ready to go.”
    Province said he thinks Tuesday's victory sent a message – to the Jaguars.
    “We don't need to send a message to our opponents because I hope they respect us and know we're a good team,” Province said, “but I think we needed to send a message to ourselves. Coach challenged us today to take care of business and we did.
    “We won, we didn't mess around and now, we're ready for what will be a bigger challenge tomorrow. I think we've surprised some people this year. We're really playing good tennis right now and we want to keep playing for a long time.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Truman coach Willis Blinzler was proud of his team's effort, despite the lopsided score.
    “Our guys knew today was going to be a challenge,” Blinzler said, “and they were really excited about playing. We're missing some players due to injuries and some grade issues – for instance, our No. 6 guy (Jewell) would normally be our No. 12 guy on varsity and came up and put up a good challenge.
    “We knew it was going to be tough, but we played with a lot of heart.”
    Follow Bill Althaus on Twitter: @AlthausEJC

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