LIMA — The Shawnee girls tennis team was looking to follow up its 2019 Western Buckeye League regular-season crown Saturday with the league tournament title at the University of Northwestern Ohio.
The Indians had to wait a little bit to get started as the courts needed drying out from the overnight rains that struck the area, meaning an hour-plus delay from the original start time.
Once they got going, they went on to finish the job and grab the tourney title.
The Indians, 9-0 in the regular season and finishing in the 20 points overall standings, won at third singles (Alora Patel), first doubles (Katie Clark and Alotus Wei) and second doubles (Donna Bowers and Hannah Paton).
Bath won the other two spots: first singles (Esther Bolon) and second singles (Ruby Bolon).
“Our game plan coming into today didn’t change. Our game plan is always to play our brand of tennis and be able to adapt,” Shawnee head coach Nate Higgins said. “We did a good job of that overall. The two we lost, the Bolon sisters were just better players today. They work hard and so do our girls. Aria (Patel) and Kunmi (Ojo) were both unbeaten at first and second singles, respectively, so maybe it was good to get a wake-up call for both of them. You don’t like to lose but this might be a good thing in the end.”
Esther Bolon defeated Aria Patel 6-4, 6-2, while Ruby Bolon bested Ojo by the same score.
Alora Patel downed Wapakoneta’s Makenzie Schroeder 6-2, 6-0.
In the doubles, Clark and Wei defeated Wapak’s Casey Minnig and Alyssa Good 6-2, 6-4, while Bowers and Paton knocked off Kaylee Jennings and Jada Buckner of Van Wert 6-3, 6-1.
“It was good how we played overall today, even for the girls we had that lost. They know what they have to work on for this coming week for sectionals,” Higgins said. “This will whet their appetites a little bit, knowing they lost their last matches and they have things to improve upon. Things will be different next week as well: for example, the Bolons are going to team up in doubles, so they won’t have to go through them.
“We might face many of the same opponents we faced this week but we will also be facing some new opponents. It’s all about being adaptable to your opponent at this point. That won’t change, no matter what.”
The winner of the 2019 WBL Sportsmanship of the Year Award was Bath’s Fayme Gandhi.
“It’s an honor to know what my opponents and other teams think of me when it comes to that. It’s good to be acknowledged,” Gandhi said. “I was brought up by my parents to control what you can control: your attitude. Don’t make your opponent feel bad, don’t make bad calls, don’t make a habit of disputing calls from your opponent.
“My coach (Sandy Dackin) instilled the same things in all of us: don’t be a bad sport in any way. Acknowledge the good shots of your oppoents, for an example. Again, this means a lot to me to be honored like this.”
Following Shawnee in the tournament standings were Bath, Van Wert, Ottawa-Glandorf, Celina, St. Marys and Kenton. Elida and Defiance tied for ninth.
Wapakoneta finished second. Van Wert and Bath tied for third followed by O-G, Celina, St. Marys and Kenton. Elida and Defiance tied for ninth.
In regular season matches, Shawnee was 9-0, Wapak 8-1, Van Wert 7-2, Bath 6-3, St. Marys and Ottawa-Glandorf 4-5 each, Celina 3-5 and Kenton, Elida and Defiance were 1-8 each.
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0468.