Bieber said the regular season tends to be a process of Powell’s players learning that their opponents “are exactly the same as us.”
“They just don’t realize that they can actually win. Once they realize it, they start winning,” Bieber said of his squad.
That’s exactly what PHS will be aiming for this weekend at the north regional tournament at Campbell County High School.
“We’re looking for a lot of people to really step up and see what can happen,” Bieber said.
Most of the PHS players will be underdogs.
The Powell boys’ No. 1 doubles team of Marshall McArthur and Justin Lynn are the lone PHS players entering the tournament with a winning 5-2 record on the season and will likely get the third seed in the bracket, Bieber said.
“They’re in solid position,” he said.
McArthur and Lynn and girls No. 2 singles player Cydney Barrus each earned wins in the final weekend of the regular season, but Sheridan and Gillette otherwise proved too much for PHS.
Sheridan took four out of five matches from both squads on Friday in Powell.
Bieber said the matches were close.
“We easily could have won 3-2, both boys and girls,” he said.
Gillette — which Bieber said has a dominant boys team — swept both boys and girls during a Saturday visit.
BreaAnn Hollenbeck lost 6-1, 6-1 to Julia Fenn of Sheridan on Friday and 6-4, 6-4 to Gillette’s Barb Griffin on Saturday in the girls No. 1 singles position.
Barrus, the No. 2 singles player, trumped Sheridan’s Megan Eisenhauer, 6-1, 6-3. Barrus nearly made it two wins in a row but was edged 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 by Madison Hinshaw of Campbell County.
At No. 1 doubles, Haley Wichman and Laura Bright lost 6-4, 6-2 to Sheridan and 6-2, 6-1 to Gillette.
In the No. 2 doubles position, Savannah Harker and Marisa Sanders lost 6-2, 6-3 against Sheridan and 6-1, 6-0 to Gillette.
Rachel Anderson and Josie Brinkerhoff were oh-so-close against Sheridan’s No. 3 doubles team, losing 7-5, 7-6(2). Against Gillette, the PHS players lost 6-0, 6-2.
For the boys, No. 1 singles player Sam Prestwich was bested by Sheridan’s Reed Ritterbsuch, 6-2, 6-1. He lost 6-0, 6-0 to defending state champion Brandon Swan of Gillette.
Cody Akin pushed SHS’ Cameron Ellis, but fell 7-5, 6-4 in No. 2 singles play. Gillette’s Sam Coulter beat Akin 6-1, 6-1.
McArthur and Lynn beat Sheridan’s No. 1 doubles team 7-5, 6-3. They lost 6-1, 6-0 against Gillette.
Kalei Smith and Matt Brown lost 6-4, 6-3 to Sheridan and 6-3, 6-1 to Gillette at No. 2 doubles.
Jeffrey Pool and Sterling Cozzens were edged 7-5, 6-4 by Sheridan at No. 3 doubles, then lost 6-3, 6-2 in the match against Gillette.
The regional tournament — which kicks off Friday and wraps on Saturday — will be a stiff test before state competition next week, as many of the top teams are in the northern region, Bieber said.
Brackets are available online by visiting www.whsaa.org and clicking the link for regional tennis.