Smackover enjoyed a successful 3A-8 District Tennis Tournament last week with the Lady Bucks winning the girls’ title and the Bucks placing second in boys. That success could be beneficial on Monday when Coach Sonia Barker’s squad opens play in the 3A State Tournament, which will be played at Burns Park in Little Rock.
Smackover qualified three entries in the girls’ bracket and two in the boys. Barker was asked if she had enough girls’ qualified to actually compete for the team title.
“I am certainly hopeful that we qualified enough girls to have a shot at the team title,” she answered. “This is certainly the most we have qualified in quite a while.”
Senior Mackenzie Preston won the conference singles title for the third straight year. Seniors Reese McKinnon and Kaylee Manasco won the doubles title with Kaylee Davis and Taylor Darden placing third.
In boys, Smackover’s Evan Phillips was the runner-up in singles. Chase Brumley and Maddox Gottberg placed third in doubles.
“The goals for all of the players are to give their best performance each match and make adjustments on the fly based on each opponent's strengths and weaknesses and their own personal arsenal of strengths and abilities,” said Barker.
“I expect all the doubles teams, girls and guys, to come ready to compete on Monday and advance to Tuesday. The keys for them will be to communicate well and play well not only against each opponent but well together as a team.”
After beginning the season in a bit of a numbers crunch, Smackover finished one of its more successful tennis campaigns. Barker couldn’t be more pleased at the progress that was made.
“We had a great season this year with important wins against teams like Crossett, Fordyce, Camden, Hampton, and Magnolia,” she said. “I have watched most all of these players truly advance in the game and with their abilities while also coming to appreciate how wonderful they are as individuals. I couldn't ask for a better group of young people to coach.”