Yellow Jackets advance to second round

Published 7:11 pm Tuesday, April 4, 2023

BROOKHAVEN — Enterprise won six out of seven courts to advance past Puckett in the first round of the MHSAA Class 1 Team Tennis playoffs. The Yellow Jackets advance to play Mize in the second round next Tuesday.

Head Coach Karen Dunaway said the location and time of their second round match would be determined at a later date. It was a convincing win for Enterprise as players fought through gusty winds. According to the National Weather Service, sustained winds blew around 21 mph with gusts hitting 36 mph during the time of the match.

Enterprise girls doubles No.1 Elle Davis and Hailey Carithers won their court 6-1, 6-0. Girls doubles No. 2 Hannah Jergins and Kailee Nuckles won 6-0, 6-0.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

In mixed doubles, Hunter Givens and Allayna Barnet won 6-2, 6-0 and were the first Yellow Jackets pairing to finish playing. Boys doubles No. 1 Evan Brumfield and Zac Thompson won 7-5 and 6-0. Boys doubles No. 2 Jake Waldrop and Kegan King won 6-2, 7-5.

Marlee Johnson, an eighth grader, won her court 6-3, 6-0. She said this was her first year playing singles for varsity and her second season playing tennis at Enterprise. The win was her first playoff appearance as Enterprise missed the team playoffs last year.

“It was kind of scary. I was in school scared but it was fun and nice to play Puckett,” Johnson said. “We were in the middle of the first set and I was shook up. I had to stop and tell myself you are catching up. You can hit back and you are okay. It worked. By the second set I was calm and collected everything went smoothly. It was all good.”

She said the wind played a factor in her approach to the match. While some players were still hitting high and looping shots, Johnson tried to play hers down so they would not catch in the wind.

“It is very tough. I swear half of the shots would just slightly curve and that was annoying,” Johnson said. “When she would hit the ball it would soar up because it would keep rising with the wind.”

Her cousin Addie Foster at Brookhaven High School introduced her to the game of tennis two years ago. She said until her cousin introduced her to tennis she never thought about the sport. However, she is glad because out of all the sports she has tried, tennis is her favorite.

Four years from now, she hopes to play tennis at Co-Lin or Southwest Community College. The natural coordination and the good feeling she has while playing tennis is why she stuck with it. While the team is competing in the MHSAA playoffs, she is also looking ahead to playing in the individual state tournament in late April.

“It is exciting. I have had a lot of faith in this team that we could reach the playoffs,” Johnson said. “Individual was hard bu we made it. I am very happy to advance and I’m starting to play good tennis.”

West Lincoln is scheduled to play in the second round against Sacred Heart at Tatum Park in Hattiesburg on Thursday weather permitting. The match will start at 1:30 p.m. Bogue Chitto will play the winner of East Marion vs North Forrest Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. Bogue Chitto’s second round match will be played at the Brookhaven City Courts.