SCOTTSBURG – Bedford North Lawrence won two marathon matches to claim the championship in the eight-team Scottsburg Invitational during girls high school tennis action on Saturday.
The Stars (8-3) went the distance to earn the hardware, edging Providence 3-2 in the semifinal, then clipping Eastern Pekin 3-2 in the final to win the title for the first time. They conquered Salem in the first round on Friday.
“This was huge for us,” BNL coach Joni Stigall said. “It was a good day.”
In the semifinal, BNL swept the doubles and got a three-set victory from Italy Lewis at No.3 singles. Lewis rallied after dropping the first set for a 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 triumph over Reese Upton for the deciding point.
“She really had to fight for that,” Stigall said. “She had to keep herself in every single point.”
The Stars dominated doubles as Bella Stigall and Mallory Pride took out Maya Paris and Mary Furnish 6-2, 6-0 at No.1. Kenley Craig and Izzy Alldredge conquered Claire Cassis and Grace Kaiser 6-2, 6-1. The Pioneers won the top singles as Riley Trinkle (a freshman ranked 20th in the nation) rolled past Rachel Kidd 6-0, 6-0 at No.1, and Ally Gray fought off Becca Epping 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7-3 in the tiebreaker) at No.2.
The recipe for success in the finale was similar. BNL cruised on both doubles courts, and Epping won a second three-set thriller for the deciding point. Epping, who came out of the Providence match with bumps and bruises after hitting the court three times, posted a key 5-7, 6-3, 6-1 win over Evje Melkonian-Ezekian at No.2.
“Becca played about six hours, with only a 30-minute break,” Stigall said. “She would not have done that last year, she would have given up. She played hard every single point, she was our MVP today. That was huge.
“She was smart, with good passing shots. She didn’t get down, she just kept going. She’s a whole different player, mentally and physically. It’s all the work she’s put in.”
Stigall and Pride pounced on Pekin’s Brooke Sease and Grace McBride 6-2, 6-1 at No.1 doubles, while Craig and Alldredge topped Isabell Cox and Lucia Rey Jimenez 6-4, 6-1 at No.2.
“They were just solid,” Stigall said. “It‘s good to see. It’s hard to get back up when cheering on teammates for two hours.”
The Musketeers won at No.1 singles (with Madeline Lewellen dropping Kidd 6-1, 6-1) and No.3 singles (with Erin England clipping Lewis 6-1, 6-1).
The Stars will host Columbus East on Monday.
BNL 3, PROVIDENCE 2
1 Riley Trinkle, P d. Rachel Kidd 6-0, 6-0
2 Ally Gray, P d. Becca Epping 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7-3)
3 Italy Lewis, BNL d. Reese Upton, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2
1 Bella Stigall and Mallory Pride, BNL d. Maya Paris and Mary Furnish 6-2, 6-0
2 Kenley Craig and Izzy Alldredge, BNL d. Claire Cassis and Grace Kaiser 6-2, 6-1
BNL 3, EASTERN PEKIN 2
1 Madeline Lewellen, EP d. Rachel Kidd 6-1, 6-1
2 Becca Epping, BNL d. Evje Melkonian-Ezekian 5-7, 6-3, 6-1
3 Erin England, EP d. Italy Lewis 6-1, 6-1
1 Bella Stigall and Mallory Pride, BNL d. Brooke Sease and Grace McBride 6-2, 6-1
2 Kenley Craig and Izzy Alldredge, BNL d. Isabell Cox and Lucia Rey Jimenez 6-4, 6-1