The Trojans had eight players to earn berths and the Tigers had four players earn berths in the 3A Individual State Tournament, which is set to begin on May 1 at the Ridgeland Tennis Center in Ridgeland.
East Side’s tennis team has had a great season as the squad won the Region 3-3A Team Title in the regular season and will go into the 3A State Team Playoffs as a No. 1 seed.
“They’ve worked hard, and they’re good athletes,” East Side head coach Adrian Cannon said. “They love the sports, and they work well together. Sometimes, they even push me to different things to build the program.”
For Ruleville, Thursday proved to be historic for the program, as the four players going to state is the most in the program’s three-year history.
“I’m real excited,” Ruleville Central head tennis coach Sylvester Cannon said. “It’s a privilege for these students just to make it to state. It’s good for them to witness and show the students what they really need to do on a local level in regular match play in order to be competitive at the state level. I’m hoping they’ll gain some scholarships.”
The girls doubles division proved to be very exciting. In the first round, East Side’s Angela Jackson and Janiesha Mayhall defeated Ruleville’s Sienna Weeks and Mya Bell in straight sets 6-3, 6-1, while Ruleville’s Kyeisha Mells and Jahzmen Finn defeated East Side’s LaSonya James and Chantelle Hutton 5-7, 6-4 and 10-8 in three sets to set up another East Side versus Ruleville showdown for the region championship. The team of Jackson and Mayhall ended up winning the Region 3-3A title by defeating Mells and Finn in the final match in straight sets 6-0, 6-2. Jackson and Mayhall and Mells and Finn will be going to state.
In the boys singles division, Ruleville’s Phillip Scott took on Humphreys County’s Nathaniel Harris in his first match of the day. The match was a thriller as Scott won the first set 10-8 but lost the second set 6-2 to send the match into a tiebreaker set. Scott pulled through and defeated Harris 10-4 in the final set to advance to the championship round against top seeded Quadre Butler from East Side. Butler proved to be too much for Scott as he won in straight sets 6-1, 6-1 to secure the region title. Butler and Scott will both be headed to the state tournament, as they look to add to their special seasons.
The girls singles division proved to be another showdown between East Side and Ruleville for the top spot, as East Side’s Keesha Jackson defeated Ruleville’s Diamond Hawkins 6-1, 6-0 in straight sets to bring home the region crown. Jackson and Hawkins will both be competing in the state tournament.
East Side continued to set the tone in the other division.
In mixed doubles action, East Side’s Skylar White and Cameron Grenell took the region title by defeating Humphreys County’s Ambrecia Winn and Malik Harris 6-2, 6-1. White and Grenell will look to continue their good play and represent East Side in the state tournament.
In boys doubles action, East Side’s team of Jamarcus Burns and Kedric Webb had to play two matches. Burns and Webb defeated Humphreys County’s Christian Marquez and Joshua Howard in straight sets 6-1, 6-1 in the first round to advance to the championship round against Humphreys County’s Johnathan Howard and Marcus Hurssey. Burns and Webb won again by defeating Howard and Hurssey 6-1, 6-4. Burns and Webb round out East Side’s representation in the individual state tournament.
East Side is scheduled to compete in the team playoffs on Apr. 22. The Mississippi Math and Science was scheduled to play East Side on Tuesday, but the team forfeited which put East Side into the second round.