Daniel Horton Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
The Havre High tennis teams caught a break this past weekend, and it wasn't on the tennis court. With terrible weather threatening to cancel the prestigious Helena Invitational tennis tournament, mother nature spared the event, and the tournament went on without so much as delay. The Helena tournament has brackets for each boys and girls singles 1-3 as well as boys and girls doubles 1-3, and the Blue Ponies saw some very stiff competition. "We were lucky and fortunate to play," Havre High head coach George Ferguson said. "The conditions were tough on Friday, windy and very cold, but we played every match and that's the most important thing. "I thought everyone we took to Helena played very well," he added. "I saw vast improvement in all of our players, and they improved well playing the toughest competition we've seen this season. That was big for our team and I'm proud of all our kids for stepping it up a notch this weekend." The No. 2 girls doubles tandem of Morgan Mc- Cann and Jolee Landgraf went the deepest of any Havre competitor in the field. The duo of juniors finished fourth in their bracket, losing twice to a stellar team from Bozeman. All of Havre's girls doubles teams won matches over the weekend for the Ponies. In singles, junior Christina Plum also shined for HHS, winning twice in the consolation bracket, while sophomore Christina Mack, playing No. 1 singles and Danielle Faechner, playing No. 2 singles, went winless in two of the most difficult draws in the tourney. "All of our girls played really well," Ferguson said. "Morgan and Jolee are playing very good tennis right now and it showed because they were up against some fierce competition. To finish fourth in the Helena tournament is no small feat. "All three of our girls doubles teams played well against good competition," he added. "It was a good weekend for them." On the boys side, No. 1 singles player Shane Kemmer, playing in the most difficult draw in Helena, went 1-2 on the weekend. Kemmer pushed one of Class AA's best players, Billings West's Jordan Hatzell to the brink in the opening round, before losing 8-6. Hatzell is a former Class A singles champion at Billings Central. At the No. 2 spot, Keenan Dolezal went 1-2, while freshman Blaine Grisak went 0-2. In doubles, two of HHS's three teams won matches. At the No. 1 spot, Kyle Miller and Mason Sheppard reached the quarterfinals and went three sets with the eventual champions from Billings Skyview, while the freshman duo of Brayden Grimson and Zach Cichosz also won their opening round match. "The field was tough for our boys team," Ferguson said. "The No. 1 brackets for singles and doubles are so tough, so none of our players have anything to hang their heads about. They all played well. "This tournament will only make us a better team," he added. "Certainly, you think you can always do better but all 18 kids who went to Helena improved and played very well, and in the long run, we'll be a better team because of how we did this weekend." The Ponies are back in action Tuesday in Great Falls. Weather permitting, HHS is slated to dual Anaconda and Butte Central in the morning and CMR and GFH in the afternoon.