The Powell High School tennis teams opened up the home portion of their schedule in impressive fashion Friday, sweeping a pair of duals against Thunder Basin and Campbell County out of Gillette.
The Panthers and Lady Panthers began the day with identical 3-2 wins over Thunder Basin, highlighted by a sweep on both sides at No. 1 and No. 2 singles. The PHS boys and girls followed that with dominating performances against Campbell County, each earning a 4-1 victory.
“We had a great day,” said PHS head coach Joe Asay. “The Thunder Basin team brought in a full squad, some talented kids there.”
Lady Panthers 3, Thunder Basin 2
Much like they did earlier in the week in the season opener against Green River, the Lady Panthers singles tandem of Elise North and Sierra Sanders opened Friday’s matches with straight-set wins at No. 1 and No. 2 singles. In the No. 1 spot, North downed the Lady Bolts’ Alyssa Baumgartner 6-3, 6-3, while Sanders bested Sarah MacIlravie 6-4, 6-3.
“Our two singles girls got off to a great start with straight-set wins,” Asay said. “That was a good start for them.”
A slow start at the No. 1 doubles spot by Sloane Asay and Sophe Morrow resulted in a straight-set loss to Thunder Basin’s Alyson Borchers and Kim Kern. The Lady Bolts cruised in a 6-1 opening set, but Asay and Morrow battled back in the second before losing a tiebreaker 7-6.
“The girls [Asay and Morrow] took it to them in the second set before coming up short in the tiebreaker,” coach Asay said. “That was a good, solid Thunder Basin team.”
The Lady Bolts added to their win total at No. 2 doubles as well, as the team of Alexa Kuhbacher and Kinsley Larson defeated Powell’s Ashley Dunkerley and Sami Cole 7-6, 6-4.
“[Dunkerley and Cole] battled well, had some really good sets, but just came up short,” Asay said. “It was a fun match-up.”
With the team score knotted at 2-2, it came down to the No. 3 doubles match to decide the winner. The Lady Panthers’ duo of Hailee Paul and Whitney Hull proved up to the task, though they had to work for it, outlasting Autumn Lund and Cassidy Hood in a grueling three-set match 5-7, 6-3, 6-2.
“That was a good, long match,” coach Asay said. “It was tough, but they got it done.”
Panthers 3, Thunder Basin 2
Jesse Brown and Dylan Preator continued to get it done at the No. 1 and No. 2 singles spots for the Panthers, each winning in straight sets against Thunder Basin.
“It’s really fun to see Jesse Brown and Dylan Preator play in those two spots,” coach Asay said. “It always feels like we’re already up 2-0 before we even start with those two. They’re really great, athletic kids.”
Brown made short work of the Bolts’ Jack Voigt 6-2 6-0 for his third straight win to open the season.
“I think Jesse’s only dropped a total of five games so far this season,” coach Asay said.
At No. 2 singles, Preator took the first set 6-3, but had a tough tougher second set, winning 7-5.
“Dylan got pushed a little bit in the second set, but got a good win,” coach Asay said.
It was a battle in the No. 1 doubles spot, as Powell’s Aidan Jacobsen and Grant Dillivan needed three sets to down Joel Klaasen and Isaac Lass 6-1, 3-6, 6-4.
“Aidan [Jacobsen] and Grant [Dillivan] started out the day with a win, which was a good switch from where they started the week at Green River,” coach Asay said. “They just got off to a great start, and seemed to execute their game plan perfectly. They dropped the second set, but came back strong to win the third set.”
The No. 2 and No. 3 doubles teams for the Panthers weren’t as fortunate. Thunder Basin’s Isaac Howell and Colton Larsen defeated Powell’s Aiden Hunt and Logan Brown in straight sets 6-3, 6-3 at No. 2 doubles. At the No. 3 spot, Panther freshmen Ethan Bartholomew and Aiden Chandler battled but ultimately lost in three sets to Mason Miller and McKale Holte 6-3, 4-6, 7-6.
“We dropped a couple of freshmen in that third doubles spot [Bartholomew and Chandler], and it was fun to see them communicate well and play good tennis,” coach Asay said. “They battled — dropped the first set, came back strong in the second set. That third doubles court had a lot of time on it, with this three-set match going all the way to a tie-breaker in third, unfortunately coming up short. But it was fun for me as a coach to have a couple of freshmen have a run at some varsity experience.”
Because of the number of athletes Thunder Basin brought to Powell, the two teams were able to play an alternates doubles match. The Panthers team of CJ Brown and Jay Cox won the match 6-0, 6-4.
Lady Panthers 4, Campbell County 1
Campbell County had a truncated lineup against the Lady Panthers, forcing them to forfeit all three doubles matches.
“With the split of the two schools, it’s kind of affected Campbell County athletics, and not in a great way,” coach Asay said of the two Gillette schools. “That was the extent of our Campbell County experience on the girls’ side. It’s a bummer for their program, and for our girls as well. You want them out there playing matches.”
The Lady Camels were able to salvage a bit of pride, splitting the singles matches to avoid the 5-0 sweep.
Campbell County’s Alli Hays proved to be too much to handle in the No. 1 singles spot, beating North 6-2, 6-0.
In the No. 2 singles spot, Sierra Sanders came away with a straight-sets win over Tatum Zickefoose 6-4, 7-5.
Panthers 4, Campbell County 1
On the boys’ side, Brown and Preator kept up their winning ways at the No. 1 and No. 2 singles positions, with straight-set victories for both.
Brown dispatched the Camels’ Miles Veyna 6-0, 6-0, while Preator defeated Austin Robertson 6-3, 6-0.
In No. 1 doubles, Powell’s Jacobsen and Dillivan ran into a buzzsaw of sorts in Campbell County’s Zach Bradley and Tyler Neary, the lone bright spot for the Camels with a 6-1, 6-2 win.
“There’s still some talent there,” coach Asay said of Bradley and Neary. “Their No. 1 singles guy [Veyna] is solid as well — Jesse [Brown] is just that good.”
Powell’s No. 2 and No. 3 doubles teams fared better, with Aiden Hunt and Logan Brown downing Cole Sorenson and Marcus Sarvey 6-1, 6-3 in the No. 2 spot. PHS’ CJ Brown and Jay Cox rounded out the match at No. 3 with a 6-1, 6-0 win over Tully Allison and Bowen Bell.
“That was a good finish to a good Friday,” coach Asay said of the doubles matches. “That’s our first conference match-up, so that’s a great start for us.”
The PHS tennis teams are both 3-1 on the season, and squared off Monday at home against Cody in a non-conference dual. The teams host Jackson Hole on Thursday.