By Don Eskins (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Ten teams from around the area participated in Tuesday’s Ozark Conference Tennis Tournament held at the Cooper Complex in Springfield. But the tournament wouldn’t find a champion until the final match of the day.
With the score tied up at 4-4 Central High’s Addie Pearman slipped past Kickapoo’s Brynley Brotherton to give the Lady Bulldogs a 5-4 win and this year’s 2019 Ozark Conference Championship.
“Brynley and I play a lot the same,” said Pearman. “I just hoped that I could make our game a long one. I felt that if I could do that I’d have a good chance to win. That’s what I did and it paid off for me. I got the win.”
Members from both teams, already finished with their matches, began to migrate down to watch Pearman and Brotherton battle it out for the conference title.
“After seeing so many people lined up to watch us play I knew that our match was going to decide who would be conference champions,” Pearman said. “It really made me nervous. I was so glad to get the matches final point to help our team win this year’s conference title.”
Central High head coach Donita Cox was more than proud of the effort shown by Pearman, an effort that earned for the Lady Bulldogs their second conference championship in a row.
“Addie’s recuperating from a groin injury and has been limping around for quite a while. Her victory today came on pure guts and determination,” said Cox. “Addie goes after every ball, never gives up and plays hard to win every match. We’re all very proud of her effort today and it was a big one for us.”
Head coach Eric Wilbur, of Kickapoo, was equally proud of Brotherton.
“Brynley’s only a freshman and she played hard, never backed off and gave us a chance to win,” said Wilbur. “It would have been nice to have gotten the win but what a way to go out. Our kids battled all day and we had our chances. I don’t think I could have asked anymore from our kids and I think it’s made us a better team as we get ready to head into district.”
Cox, in assessing her girls play, said that the day turned out pretty much as they had expected.
“We knew that Kickapoo would be tough. They’re such a good team. They’re experienced yet still very young and they play hard to the last point, as they did today,” she said. “But I felt confident that if our kids played up to their capabilities we’d be okay. These kids are very special. They’re very supportive and truly care about each other. I feel very blessed to have such a team.”
With the conference tournament now behind them both Central and Kickapoo will set their sights on next week’s district tournament.
Top two rosters.
Central High Lady Bullogs: Evelyn VanDenBerg, Madeleine Fulk, Bradley Weimer, Addison Pearman, Allie Jean German and Brett Reagan Boney.
Kickapoo Lady Chiefs: Jadyn Wersinger, Marissa Scott, Esther Choe, Brynley Brotherton, Asantae Haanstad and Ashley McCurry.
9. West Plains