The Ada Tennis Center has been quite a home court advantage for the Ada High tennis squads over the past week.
Seven days after the Ada girls lost just one set in sweeping their regional tournament on their way to a runner-up finish Saturday at the Class 4A State Tournament, the AHS boys were even more dominant Monday at their regional, winning every set while easily outdistancing the rest of the nine-team field.
“Our goal every year is to win our regional — this year our goal was to sweep our regional,” veteran Ada tennis coach Skip Griese said after watching the Cougars stamp themselves as contenders for their program’s first state title since 1998. “The last few years, we needed somebody to beat somebody to help us. This year, if we go up there and play well we have a chance to win it, but so do Byng, Henryetta and Anadarko.”
Although the boys squad didn’t lose a set Monday, there were a few anxious moments.
Ada’s No. 1 Doubles tandem of Andrew Leach and Josh Ellis made short work of Joe Barboza and Chris Rettman of Harrah, 6-1, 6-2, but the No. 2 Doubles team of Zack Whelchel and Charlie Hansen had to survive a dogfight before disposing of Colton O’Neal and Christian Martin of Seminole, 6-3, 6-4.
Junior John Stout also had a battle on his hands with freshman Blake Crawford of Mount St. Mary in the No. 1 Singles championship match before Crawford defaulted with an apparent calf injury while trailing 1-0 in the second set. Stout had to rally to win the first set, 6-4.
Crawford broke Stout’s serve in the first game of the match and had a break point at 30-40 in the ninth game with the set tied at 4-4. Stout held his serve, however, and he broke Crawford’s serve in the 10th game without losing a point.
No. 2 Singles player Drew Burkhart — Ada’s best hope for a No. 1 seed in what shapes up as a wide open 4A State Tournament — beat Dalton McCall of Okmulgee, 6-1 in the first set of their championship match and built a 4-0 lead in the second set with some impressive work at the net before unforced errors enabled McCall to win two straight games and close to with 4-2.
But Burkhart took a 30-15 lead in the seventh game with a nice forehand winner at the net and won the game with a passing shot to take a 5-2 lead in the set. He then hit several nice shots in the eighth game — including a backhand winner on the first point, a passing shot at the net at deuce and another backhand winner to take the lead for good. McCall was wide on a return on the next point to wrap up the win.
“We did what we needed to do in the context of what we need to do this weekend,” Griese said.