BHS netters claim state title

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, April 30, 2003

RIDGELAND – Brookhaven’s tennis team held the Class 4A statechampionship trophy aloft, huddled for a patented Peekaboo cheerand then headed for the ice cream store in nearby Madison tocontinue their victory celebration. The Panthers secured thechampionship in impressive fashion Tuesday, powered by StuartMisner in boys singles and Lane Lofton and Judson Langston in boysdoubles, successfully defending their titles at the RidgelandTennis Center.

Brookhaven also got bonus points from Sadie Corban and ElliottWarren in mixed doubles and Lindsey Hall and Betsy Lynch in girlsdoubles. Both teams reached Tuesday’s finals before losing.

Brookhaven finished with 14 points to outdistance runner-upGrenada’s 9 points and defending state champion Shannon with 8points. The Panthers had won the state title two years ago whenMisner, Lofton and Langston were sophomores.

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“It’s a great feeling,” said Misner, pausing to acceptcongratulations from teammates and fans. “It’s been a blessing tome. There’s no greater feeling than being part of a team.”

Misner romped through the tournament, winning all four of hismatches in straight sets. He defeated Doug Olson of Stone County6-0, 6-1 in the finals. He overpowered West Jones 6-0, 6-0 inyesterday’s semis while Olson was pushed to a 3-set tie-breaker tobeat Brandon Harris of Shannon 7-6, 5-7, 6-3.

Misner has signed a tennis scholarship with Samford (Ala.)University. He follows in the footsteps of his older brother andsister who both played tennis at Samford.

Lofton and Langston overcame a challenge from Oxford’s CarrChadwick and Will McKenzie in the finals. After winning the firstset 6-1, Lofton-Langston saw the Oxford duo come roaring back,encouraged by a large cheering section. They recovered to win thesecond set 7-6 on a 7-4 tie-breaker as Lofton leapt high at the netto smash a return winner.

“I expected (Oxford) to come back in the second set,” saidLofton. “That made it more gratifying.

“I’m happy I can go out there and give God the glory,” Loftoncontinued. “Judson plays incredible when it comes down to a hugematch. He plays his best.”

Langston, wearing a Mississippi State cap, said he enjoyed thematch. “It was fun. Oxford was good. It’s a great way to go out. Wehad a great year.”

In the semifinals. Lofton-Langston disposed of Shannon, winning6-0, 6-3, in a rematch of last year’s semis.

In mixed doubles, Corban, a senior; and Warren, an eighthgrader, beat Laurel 6-3 in the first set. Chris Purden and MeachamHarlow, seeded No. 1, rallied to win the next two sets 6-3, 6-2 ona breezy, sun-kissed afternoon.

In the semifinals, Corban-Warren eliminated Grenada 6-1,6-4.

In girls doubles, Kirby Smith and Jennifer Mallette of Shannongot a 6-0, 6-3 win over Hall-Lynch in the finals.

“Shannon was tough,” said Hall, holding an ice bag on her tenderright elbow. “They’ve been playing together a long time.”

In the semifinals, Hall-Lynch eliminated Cranford-Bratton of OLA6-1, 6-4.

Brookhaven head coach David Misner said he was proud of histeam’s performance, reaching the finals in four events. “It wasawesome to get all four in the finals. I’m proud of them.

“This team won because they had a lot of character,” Misnercontinued. “They played best when it mattered the most.”

Misner said Brookhaven’s seniors were the core of his team andwould be severely missed. “Lane and Judson knew it was a verysignificant match because it was the last of their careers. Theother teams played very well, too.”

Stuart Misner, winning his third boys singles championship, hadhelped win the boys doubles title as a sophomore. In yesterday’ssemifinals, he eliminated Sherman of West Jones.

Grenada seventh grader Christi Boxx defeated Stone County’sChelsea Bond 6-2, 6-1 for the girls singles title.

State Champs: Tupelo outscored Madison Centralfor the Class 5A team title. New Albany won Class 3A, St. Andrew’s2A and Grenville St. Joseph 1A.