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Lady Falcons Come Close

Donoho Wins

Donoho finishes second in state 1A-3A girls tennis for second year in a row, Harris and Hillman-Draper doubles team win individual titles

By Al Muskewitz

 The Donoho girls tennis team finished second in the state for the second year in a row – a lot closer this time than a year ago – and scored two individual titles.

The Lady Falcons scored 41 teams points over the two days at Lagoon Park and finished seven points behind state champion Bayside Academy in Class 1A-3A. They finished 25 points behind champion St. Luke’s last year.

Freshman No. 6 singles Anna Marie Harris and No. 1 doubles team of Claire Hillman and Lily Grace Draper won individual state crowns.

“I’m so very proud of all of our girls,” Donoho coach Kristie Alderman said. “We advanced farther on every court this year than we did last year, closing the gap. I’m proud of the progress they made. I’m proud of Anne Marie Harris for winning Court 6 and I’m proud of Claire and Lily Grace for winning Court 1 doubles for the second year in a row.”

The Lady Falcons held a three-point overnight lead and held a one-point lead after the doubles finals, but their fortunes turned in the singles semifinals when they won two of the six matches, but none of the four head-to-head matchups with Bayside.

“I felt like our girls played really hard in the semifinals against Bayside,” Alderman said. “It’s tough when you have the two best teams in the same side of the bracket; that’s just the way the draw works.

“Every one there is a good team. Obviously, Bayside was challenging in the semifinals, but every team there was a good team this year. Being around the state tournament from the time my daughter played until now the courts have gotten so much stronger, especially the 3-4-5-6 courts.

“We’ve always had really good Court 1 and 2 players down at state in Class 1A-3A, but it was strong across the board and multiple schools were strong this year. It was tough at every position this year and all the matches were tight.”

Draper (No. 2) and Harris (No. 6) made it through to the singles finals. Harris, playing in the top six for the first time, won her match, defeating Millison Mixon of Bayside, 6-1, 6-2. Draper lost to Bayside’s O’Melia MacPherson 6-1, 6-1.

Hillman and Draper defending the No. 1 doubles title they won a year ago by defeating MacPherson and Claire Prickett, 6-1, 2-6, 10-8.

“They worked to get that win today,” Alderman said.

Despite coming up short, don’t despair for Donoho. The Lady Falcons took four juniors and two freshmen to Lagoon Park and will return them all next year.

“We’re really proud of what they’ve done this year and being runner-up,” Alderman said, “but, yes, we certainly want to close that gap even further next year and hopefully come home with the blue map trophy.”

Bayside Academy 48, Donoho 41, Lauderdale County 25, Mars Hill 20, Houston Academy 12, Whitesburg Christian 5, St. Bernard Prep 4, Westminster-Oak Mountain 2, Westbrook Christian 0.

Championship matches
No. 2: O’Melia MacPherson, Bayside Academy def. Lily Grace Draper, Donoho, 6-1, 6-1
No. 6: Anna Marie Harris, Donoho def. Millison Mixon, Bayside Academy, 6-1, 6-2
Semifinal matches
No. 1: Claire Prickett, Bayside Academy def. Claire Hillman, Donoho 7-5, 6-2
No. 2: Lily Grace Draper, Donoho def. Lauren Roberson, Mars Hill, 6-1, 6-2
No. 3: Lillie McInnis, Bayside Academy def. Mary Marshall Perry, Donoho , 6-3, 6-4
No. 4: Avery Vandermeeden, Bayside Academy def. Harper Pumroy, Donoho, 6-3, 7-6
No. 5: Annie Neill, Bayside Academy def. Blair Kitchen, Donoho, 3-6, 6-2, 10-4
No. 6: Anna Marie Harris, Donoho def. Samantha Howton, Mars Hill, 6-4, 6-1

Championship matches
No. 1: Claire Hillman-Lily Grace Draper, Donoho def. Claire Prickett-O’Melia MacPherson, Bayside Academy, 6-1, 2-6, 10-8
No. 2: Liviah Lash-Lizzie Tanner, Lauderdale County def. Mary Marshall Perry-Harper Pumroy, Donoho, 6-3, 2-6, 10-3
No. 3: Millison Mixon-Lillie McInnis, Bayside Academy def. Blair Kitchen-Anna Marie Harris, Donoho, 6-2, 6-1

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