Panthers punch ticket to Oxford

Published 2:15 pm Tuesday, April 16, 2024

BROOKHAVEN — Revenge may be on the minds of Brookhaven High School tennis players when they arrive in Oxford next Monday. The Panthers lost in the state finals last season and have a shot to win it all this year. 

Ole Brook punched their tickets to the State semifinals by defeating East Central High School 7-0 Tuesday afternoon. They will play the winner of Lafayette County vs Corinth in the state semifinals. 

No. 1 Boys doubles players John Sones and Crews Stewart were some of the first courts to finish up Tuesday. Sones experienced the heartbreaking end to the season last year. 

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“We came second last year in the state but I feel we have a good chance this year,” he said. “The loss motivated us, especially towards the end of the season. We are making sure we are not choking and losing matches. I got so mad at State last year. I have learned to control my temper and not take it all on by yourself.”

As a team, Sones said Brookhaven did not have a great start to the season but are making progress and playing strong. He started playing tennis at Brookhaven in seventh grade and is now a junior. 

His brother David Sones was his doubles partner until David graduated. 

Sones and Stewart won both sets convincingly Tuesday. With each point the doubles pair gave a low five, some players tapped their rackets instead. Sones said it was to keep morale up. 

Stewart said he and Sones have been friends since they were little and their parents are friends. They communicate well on the court which is achieved through speaking and a series of signs they use. 

Stewart, known for his power, got the court clinching point with a delicately hit shot at the net. One fan remarked it was an excellent display of touch and power. 

“You have to be smart and know when to hit it hard and soft. It is all a mind game,” Stewart said. “This is my first year playing together (with Sones). It has been fun. We had to figure it out at first but we did. I’ve been playing for two years now and it is a fun sport to play.”