LINCOLN — The Alliance, Scottsbluff and Gering boys tennis teams all saw their seasons come to an end on Thursday during the opening day of the Class B state tournament in Lincoln.
Despite being unable to get any players through to the semifinal round, Alliance coach Rich Stickney was upbeat about his team’s performance in Thursday’s opening three rounds.
“I think our boys played about as well as they could,” he said. “It was a little bit windy today, and it kind of affected us a little bit in what our game is. We try to stay in control of the point a little bit more, which means we lob and approach the net. We weren’t able to do that all the time, but I think it played out that the better teams won. We ran into some early stiff competition today.”
After posting a 6-2, 6-1 win over Waverly’s Seth Howe in the first round, Alliance’s Keagan Hill, the No. 10 seed, battled back to oust the No. 7 seed in the tournament, Treyson McGill of Lincoln Pius X, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6, 7-3 to advance to a quarterfinal match against No. 2 seed, Jordan Nash of Adams Central. Hill, however, fell in the match, 6-1, 6-2.
Stickney was pleased with Hill’s effort to get past McGill in a hard-fought match and play solid against the No. 2-seeded Nash, who is touted to play for the state championship today.
“That was an upset,” Stickney said of Hill’s win over McGill. “That was one of our highlights of the day that he got by a seven seed. And It was really kind of deceptive reading the score [against Adams Central’s Nash]. I don’t know how many times they went to deuce. Actually, that first one that he lost 1-6, he could have been ahead 3-0. He could have closed the door, but that’s a compliment to the Adams Central kid, he didn’t let that happen. He is the real deal.”
Scottsbluff’s Alex Harbach and Gering’s Brian Doll both saw an early exit from the tournament as Harbach fell to No. 12 Jonathan Deemer of College View Academy, 6-2, 6-0; while Doll went down to York’s Creighton Loreman, 6-1, 6-4.
In No. 2 singles, Alliance’s Alex Elston survived Elkhorn’s Andrew Randall, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2, before falling to the hands of the No. 5 seed, John Cecava of Lincoln Pius X, 6-2, 5-7, 6-2. Scottsbluff’s Eric Olsen dropped his first round match to McCook’s Tristan Thomas, 6-1, 6-0; while No. 9 Zane Nelson of Adams Central took control to defeat Gering’s Jason Doll, 6-0, 6-1.
After drawing a bye at No. 1 doubles, Alliance’s Kyler Kaping and Keith Sanders downed Adams Central’s No. 11 seed of Levi Cermak and Schyler Bohlen, 7-5, 6-3. Kaping and Sanders, though, couldn’t make it through No. 3 seed Brian Carmody and Andrew Johnson of Omaha Skutt, falling 6-4, 6-1 in the match.
Scottsbluff’s only win in the state tournament came in the first round in No. 1 doubles action when Sean Mercer-Smith and Traver Pettijohn cruised by College View Academy’s Curtis Mosely and Tyler Mathews, 6-1, 6-2. The win pitted the Scottsbluff duo against the No. 4 seed in the tournament, Jared Karlson and Walker Hohensee of Holdrege. The Dusters rolled in the match, 6-0, 6-0, and are currently in the semifinals today taking on the No. 1 team of Alec Lubben and Patrick Thomas of Elkhorn South.
Gering’s Vincent Moreno and Anthony Ramirez saw their season come to an end at No. 1 doubles, falling to Elkhorn’s Caden Bischof and Sawyer Nietfeld, 6-0, 6-1.
After picking up a 6-1, 6-4 win over Mount Michael’s John Beckman and Nick Beckman in the first round, Alliance’s Broderick Fielding and Brian Gould exited the tournament after falling to No. 7 seed, Elkhorn’s Robert Hart and Austin Seagren, 6-2, 6-3.
York’s Logan Cobb and Hayden Sandall ousted Scottsbluff’s Blake Wilberger and Logan Woodward, 6-2, 6-1 in the first round; while Gering’s Noah Miller and Alex Lupher’s day came to an end with a first-round loss to Adams Central’s Grant Ostrander and Garrett Moller, 7-6, (7-3), 6-2.
Stickney said that although none of his players reached the final day, he was pleased with the way they played and lauded the solid competition at the tournament.
“We were hoping to get an upset, but I thought our boys played extremely well,” he said. “I was really pleased with the way they played. We just ran into a buzz saw. Had we been in a little bit different side of the bracket, things would have been a little bit different. I think we might have gotten somebody through there today.”
Class B team scores from day 1
Elkhorn South 36, Omaha Skutt Catholic 32, Lincoln Christian 26, Lincoln Piux X 24, Adams Central 22, Grand Island Central Catholic 22, Alliance 20, Elkhorn 20, Omaha Brownell-Talbot/Concordia 20, Holdrege 16, Omaha Roncalli 14, McCook 12, York 12, Hastings 10, Mount Michael Benedictine 10, Lexington 6, Ralston 6, Beatrice 4, College View Academy 4, Kearney Catholic 4, Nebraska City 4, Omaha Gross Catholic 4, Scottsbluff 4, Waverly 4, Gering 0, South Sioux City 0.