News from the Tennessee Valley Sports

Decatur senior Sarah Hodges made the semifinals in No. 2 singles and No. 1 doubles with teammate Angee Stevens.
Photo by Dennis Victory
Decatur senior Sarah Hodges made the semifinals in No. 2 singles and No. 1 doubles with teammate Angee Stevens.

Good sports, Hartselle boys finish seventh in state tennis
Decatur girls also grab seventh place

By Dennis Victory

MOBILE — Hartselle High's boys walked away from the Class 5A state tennis championship tournament at the Mobile Tennis Center with a piece of hardware following Tuesday's final day of play.

It just wasn't the trophy they wanted.

The Tigers received the sportsmanship award, but Anthony Penick and Alex Brown fell to UMS-Wright's Colin Perry and Ford Wyatt in the No. 1 doubles final, denying the duo of the title they coveted.

"This was not our best tennis at all," Brown said after the defeat. "We've been playing awesome today, but we just didn't have it in the final."

Walker won its second straight boys title, earning the championship in the final boys match of the day to outpoint UMS-Wright 63-62, while Hartselle finished seventh in the 13-team tournament.

In the 5A girls division, Decatur's girls placed seventh. St. Paul's cruised to the girls title with 84 points, winning all six singles and three doubles, while Walker and UMS-Wright tied for second with 35 points.

Hartselle's Penick and Brown played well against the Muscle Shoals pair of Aaron Lockhart and Karlin Sheffey, winning 6-2, 6-3. They had their chances against a UMS-Wright team that reached the final after a Walker player was ejected when he pushed another UMS-Wright player on an adjacent court.

In that match, Walker easily won the first set and was two points from victory when the altercation occurred.

Penick and Brown expected to play the Walker pair, who had dominated the two-day event. When the ejection occurred, giving the match to UMS-Wright, the Hartselle pair thought they had a good shot against the hometown-favorite Bulldogs.

The final match featured about eight deuce games, which are played as a sudden death point served to the receiver's side of choice. Hartselle couldn't break through on the crucial games, winning only twice.

"I think that was the turning point," Penick said. "This was tough because I'm a senior and it was rough going out like this, but nobody expected us get this far. We were kind of like a Cinderella team."

In girls play, Decatur couldn't add to the points it compiled during Monday's first day of play.

The top two Decatur girls doubles teams fell in semifinal action.

At No. 1 doubles, Angee Stevens and Sarah Hodges lost 6-1, 6-1 to eventual champions Ebie Wilson and Mary Angela Martin of St. Paul's. At No. 1 doubles, Mary Virginia Sherrill and Emily Suggs were downed 6-0, 6-0 by St. Paul's sisters Nene and Jane Stephens.

In singles, Hodges made the semifinals at No. 2 before falling to Briarwood Christian's Alex Epps 6-0, 6-3.

The team scoring for the boys division: Walker 63, UMS-Wright 62, St. Paul's 38, Russellville 36, Briarwood 15, Muscle Shoals 15, Hartselle 13, Sylacauga 12, Pleasant Grove 11,
Benjamin Russell 9, Albertville 5, Greenville 3 and West Point

The team scoring for the girls division: St. Paul's 84, Walker 35, UMS-Wright 35, Briarwood Christian 28, Muscle Shoals 24, Arab 21, Decatur 20, West Point 9, Greenville 6, Benjamin Russell 4, Carroll-Ozark 4, Pleasant Grove 2, Sylacauga 2 and Hartselle 2.

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