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Eagles earn ‘beak-to-beak’ county titles

Eagles earn ‘beak-to-beak’ county titles
Eagles earn ‘beak-to-beak’ county titles
Lanesville's Devon McCulloch slid to reach this shot early on during Saturday's Harrison County Tournament at North Harrison. (Photo by Alan Stewart)

Coaches love it when a plan comes together.
Midway through Saturday’s Harrison County Tennis Tournament in Ramsey, Lanesville head coach Matt Kellems drew up exactly how the rest of the day would have to go to win the championship for the second straight year.
The only thing more perfect than the plan may have been the weather, which was a cozy, around 70 degrees, with a soft, cool breeze and nary a cloud in sight.
The Eagles were the only team to score at all five positions and wound up winning a tight affair over North Harrison, 17-16. Corydon Central was third with eight points and South Central fourth with seven.
Lanesville’s only first-place finishes came at No. 3 singles, where James Hambley shut out North’s Evin Magner, 6-0, 6-0, and No. 2 singles, where Devon McCulloch rallied to outlast Corydon’s Jeff Thomas, 6-7 (4-7), 7-5, 7-5.
The bout between McCulloch and Thomas lasted more than two hours and decided the final outcome. Undoubtedly, it was the most equal match of the day as both players came up with amazing saves and showed plenty of hustle throughout.
If Thomas won, the host Cougars would win the title, and if McCulloch won, the Eagles would be the champs.
‘Those McCulloch boys have a flair for the dramatic,’ Lanesville coach Matt Kellems said. ‘Last year, Devon’s brother won it for us, and today, Devon did it. I guess they just thrive on the pressure and have a flair for the dramatic.
‘We drew up exactly how everything would have to go to win, and it happened. We had to cheer for Corydon and South Central in a couple of spots, but it came out exactly how we hoped. It’s nice to repeat.’
Lanesville’s No. 1 doubles duo of Adam Brown and Patrick Huffman were runners up to the Shearer brothers ‘ John and Michael ‘ of North Harrison, 6-3, 6-1. At No. 2 doubles, Brad Stilger and Adam Phillips bested Corydon’s Brooks Way and Mehrotra Akshay for third place, 6-0, 6-1.
The Eagles picked up another third place at No. 1 singles as David Barr knocked off Ben Hanus of South Central, 7-5, 6-1.
‘It was a total team effort today. Everyone did what they had to do for us to win. We were the only school to have every single spot win at least one match and score points for us, and in a very close tournament that put us over the top,’ Kellems added.
Besides the win by the Shearers, North Harrison had another first at doubles: Cole Duffy and Tim Harmon dashed past South’s Brad Abbott and Greg Gehlbach, 6-0, 6-3.
The Cougar netters had a pair of runner-up finishes as well, with No. 1 singles player Kyle Fisher falling to Corydon’s Dustin Thomas, 6-3, 7-6 (7-2), and Magner falling to Hambley.
Dustin Thomas had the Panthers’ lone win on the day, with Jeff Thomas finishing second to McCulloch at No. 2 singles.
South Central’s No. 2 doubles pair of Abbott and Gehlbach was the team’s top scorers for the day. Levi Anderson finished third over Jason Shumate of North Harrison, 6-1, 6-1, at No. 2 singles and at No. 1 doubles, Brad Mercer and Deavon Wiseman knocked off Scott Hanson and Rob Hipple for third, 6-1, 6-2.
In earlier action Saturday:
Dustin Thomas of Corydon defeated Ben Hanus of South Central to start the action at No. 1 singles, 7-6 (7-1), 6-3. On the other court, North’s Fisher downed Lanesville’s David Barr, 6-4, 6-4. Barr defeated Hanus in the consolation match, 7-5, 6-1.
At No. 2 singles, South’s Levi Anderson came up short against Jeff Thomas of Corydon, 6-2, 6-3, while Devon McCulloch was a 6-0, 6-3 winner over the Cougars’ Jason Shumate. Anderson scored third place by tripping Shumate, 6-1, 6-1.
The Panthers’ Nick Engleman suffered a 6-2, 6-1 setback against James Hambley of Lanesville at No. 3 singles and Evin Magner of North Harrison advanced to the semifinal round by South Central default.
At No. 1 doubles, Scott Hanson and Rob Hipple were the victims of a 6-2, 6-3 loss to Lanesville’s Patrick Huffman and Adam Brown and the Shearer brothers of North Harrison raced past South Central’s Brad Mercer and Deavon Wiseman, 6-1, 6-0.
Mercer and Wiseman came back to defeat the Panthers’ duo, 6-1, 6-2.
Rounding out the slate at No. 2 doubles, Brad Abbott and Greg Gehlbach of Lanesville were 6-1, 7-5 victors over Way and Mehrotra of Corydon. North’s Duffy and Harmon defeated South’s team, 6-1, 7-5.
The pair of Eagles won the consolation, 6-0, 6-1.