BA tennis heads to MAIS 5A State off south state success

Published 3:53 pm Friday, April 19, 2024

Brookhaven Academy tennis is a proud program with lots of tradition and head coach Holli Pepper has a group that’s bought into team play this season and in doing so brought back MAIS 5A South State titles to the school this week in both the girls’ and boys’ brackets.

Individual winners at the tournament that was played in Vicksburg included the sister duo of Annaston Poole and Swayze Poole in No.1 Girls Doubles. The Poole sisters defeated a team from Natchez Cathedral for the title.

The No. 2 Girls Doubles team of Camille Calcote and Macy McDaniel also captured first place in their bracket, beating a Natchez Cathedral duo that had beaten them earlier in the season. The other first placed team on the day was the No. 2 Boys Doubles team of Noah Fisher-Butler and Cooper Strickland, who topped a pair of Parklane Pioneers in their final match.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The upcoming 5A State Tournament will be held on Thursday, April 25 at the Ridgeland Tennis Center. Bayou Academy from Cleveland won the 5A North State Tournament on the boys’ side while Pillow Academy from Greenwood won it on the girls’ side of action. Lamar School from Meridian was runner-up for both brackets.

“I knew before the season started that we were better as a team than last year but didn’t know if our record and match results would reflect the growth,” said Pepper. “The success of this season has been a collaborative effort with a lot of people to thank. They work on tennis outside of school with other area coaches, parents help with junior tennis, and our entire community supports them. Most play other sports that have been successful, which helps with conditioning, learning how to compete, and building mental toughness.”

All total, Brookhaven Academy will have competitors on five of the nine courts at the state tourney as the No.1 Girls Singles player, Taylor Douglas, won her district, but lost in the finals of the south state tournament to a player from Providence Classical Academy out of Bossier City, Louisiana.

The No. 1 Boys Doubles team of Wilson Calcote and Nathan Poole lost to the same team from Parklane in district and south state but will get another chance at revenge next week at the state tourney.

Additional competitors at district and south state for BA included Cooper Smith in No. 1 Boys Singles, John Pace in No. 2 Boys Singles, Levi Dale and Ava Calcote in mixed doubles and Riley Ray in No. 2 Girls Singles. The BA tennis team also includes Marion Baker, Lilliana Baker, Gigi Fitzsimmons, Ruth Ellen Gates, Madelynn Lambert, Ella Smith, Warner Calcote, Dylan Johnson, Adam Koonce, Austin Tanksley and JParker Watts.

“The team’s success is because of the entire group, not just the ones playing the varsity matches,” said Pepper. “They all pushed each other to be their best in practice and made it difficult for me to make out a lineup because they all worked hard and wanted to play. The boys and girls winning south state is great and the ultimate goal is winning state, but I’m very proud of how they’ve bought into putting Cougar Blue above their own accolades and focused on each other and the things above.”