2019-03-13 / Sports

Region chances look good for Bears tennis

DIANA ROYAL

Now that they have a few matches under their belts and region play has begun, the Bears tennis teams are showing they’ve got what it takes to be competitive this season.

After competing against Jenkins County last week (the girls lost 2-3 and the boys won 4-1), Burke County High School’s boys sit at 4-2, 2-0 and the girls, 2-4, 1-1.

“Aside from the required region matches, we have our schedule filled with teams who all made it to the second round of state last year,” said head coach Laurie Dickey, explaining that they wanted to give players exposure to the caliber of players they will face at state. “This might make our overall record look bad on paper, but it will give our players so much valuable experience and will help them better their game and that is our goal.”

Both teams are very young this season, Dickey went on to say, with the girls consisting of all underclassmen and the boys having just a few upperclassmen to lead the way. “This is exciting knowing that they will develop their game for the future of our team over the next couple of years. I'm hopeful that we should finish in the top two of our region.”

While the girls team has never won region, Dickey says she feels this is the team that can do it - “if not this year, definitely in the upcoming seasons.” For the boys, they won the region title for the first time in 2017, a feat she believes they have another shot at. “There is a lot of talent, but their knowledge of the game needs to continue to be developed since they are so young. Once it all starts working together, they will definitely be on the right track. I have been impressed so far with how everyone has stepped up and begun to get a feel for their role on the team.”

So far, the boys and girls teams have both defeated Harlem and Cross Creek (region) and the boys also have wins over ARC (region) and Jenkins County. Both teams were defeated by SE Bulloch and Statesboro.

BCHS junior David Skinner has had quite an impressive season thus far. Having to play a tiebreaker for both sets against ARC, he showed a lot of control, Dickey says, moving the opponent well and keeping him guessing the whole match by using a variety of shots. “In a previous match at the beginning of the season (against SE Bulloch), he lost a match in a tiebreaker, and I could see improvement just over the past couple of weeks with him keeping his composure in that situation. He is a dynamic player to watch and very competitive so I am ready to see what the rest of the season holds for him.”

Sophomores Paige Jones and Kam Parker are both players to watch for on the girls side. Jones returns this season at #1 singles, and Dickey says she has improved as far as manipulating her shots and controlling her opponent. Parker, who is new to the team, has also been a great addition. “She has a lot of athleticism and powerful groundstrokes,” Dickey commented. Burke County traveled to Baldwin yesterday (Tuesday) but results were not available at press time. They have several matches over the coming days: they play at Metter today (March 13), at Swainsboro on Thursday, March 14, at home against Jenkins County on Tuesday, March 19, and in Thomson next Wednesday, March 20. All matches are scheduled for 4 p.m.

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