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Eagles pull off 3-peat at county tourney

Eagles pull off 3-peat at county tourney
Eagles pull off 3-peat at county tourney
Lanesville's Patrick Huffman and partner Seth Jacobs face off against North Harrison in their first-round matchup at Saturday's Harrison County Tournament in Elizabeth. (Photo by Alan Stewart)

Five short years ago, Jeff Smitley was playing many sports, including tennis, for Lanesville High.
Fast-forward to a beautiful, fall Saturday afternoon at South Central, and there was Smitley again, this time as head coach for the Eagles, who won their third consecutive Harrison County Tournament championship.
Lanesville scored 17 points, followed by Corydon Central (14 points), North Harrison (8) and South Central (6).
Lanesville secured three titles along the way, with Devon McCulloch taking No. 2 singles, Patrick Huffman and Seth Jacobs No. 1 doubles, and Richard Will and Chris VanHoose at No. 2 doubles.
James Hambley was third at No. 1 singles for the Eagles, with Taylor Hess taking the consolation match at No. 3.
‘This is a real good feeling, for these guys more than anything. I feel like a lot of times I just stand out there and direct. From what I understand, it’s the third season in the row, and I’m glad for them,’ Smitley said.
‘As far as the match goes, we had three other matches this week, so we didn’t talk too much about the county tournament. This was sitting in the back of our minds.
‘We knew North Harrison’s No. 1 was going to be tough, and that (Corydon’s) Dustin Thomas was going to be tough. We knew that any spot could go to anyone at any time.’
McCulloch started the day with a hard-fought, 7-5, 6-4 victory over South’s Levi Anderson. In the championship, Lanesville picked up five first-place points as McCulloch tripped up North’s Evin Magner, 6-3, 6-1.
The Huffman-Jacobs combo saw their toughest fight in the opener against North’s Jason Shumate and Tyler Schmidt. Lanesville’s duo squeaked out a 7-6, 6-3 affair to advance to the final against Corydon’s Brooks Way and Scott Hanson. The Eagles’ pair won, 6-3, 6-2.
Will and VanHoose had just three points scored on them during their trek to the win at No. 2 doubles. They defeated South’s Darrin Pellman and Shane Quebbeman in the opener, 6-1, 6-0, then posted a pair of 6-1 wins against Corydon’s Michael Goins and Tyler Hoehn in the final.
Hambley defeated South’s Greg Gehlbach in the No. 1 singles consolation, 6-1, 6-4, and Hess blanked North’s Eric Gettlefinger in the third-place match, 6-0, 6-0.
‘We told the guys just before we pulled up that we had to treat it like any other match,’ Smitley said. ‘It’s a little different feeling between coaching and playing, especially since some of these guys were in seventh grade or so when I was in high school.
‘I think the biggest difference is that I can’t go out there and do it myself. It’s difficult to step back and watch. I’m a whole lot more nervous now than I was in high school because the stress goes up. When I was out there playing, I could take out my aggression and leave it on the court, but now that I’m coaching, I’m constantly pacing back and forth and trying to give these guys advice.’
At No. 1 singles, Corydon’s Thomas shut out Greg Gehlbach in the first round, 6-0, 6-0, and then fought tooth and nail against North’s Cole Duffy in the championship round.
Thomas won the first set, 7-5, before dropping the second in a tie-breaker, 6-7 (6-8). The Panther came back in the third set and won, 6-3.
South Central had its first individual champion in over five years as Craig Huffman took the top honors at No. 2 singles.
Huffman tripped up Hess in the first match, 6-1, 6-2, then dealt a 6-0, 6-1 setback to Corydon’s Akshay Mehrotra in the final.
The Rebels also got third-place points from the No. 2 singles spot, where Anderson zipped past Corydon’s Chad Lee, 6-0, 6-1.
Both of North Harrison’s doubles teams scored wins in third-place matches.
At No. 1, Shumate and Schmidt defeated South’s Nick Gehlbach and Matt Deatrick, 6-2, 6-0. At No. 2, Kyle Austin and Anthony Robertson shelled South’s Pellman and Quebbeman, 6-0, 6-1.