JASPER – Scott Yarbrough and his Jasper girls tennis players did something on Thursday every other Wildcat associated with the program had done since 1990—win an IHSAA sectional championship.
The Wildcats secured their 35th title in program history with a 5-0 win over county rival Southridge to advance to the regional.
“To continue that streak, we appreciate it,” Yarbrough said. “I don't know if anybody else can but we definitely appreciate it from a standpoint of continuing that tradition.
“The one thing we have really worked on the last 12-15 years is in our program we make it about family and we are really tight knit.”
In No. 1 singles, sophomore Harper Wigand beat junior Kate Durcholz 6-0, 6-0 and sophomore Reese Mundy downed sophomore Maggie Rasche 6-0, 6-0 in No. 2. Senior Ally Wigand won 6-1, 6-1 over junior Ruthie Sherer in No. 3 singles.
“There has been some times there when teams have gotten close,” Yarbrough said. “It's never ever one of those things that lasts forever but for right now it's in a pretty good place.”
Playing No. 1 doubles, seniors Allie Scharr and Brailyn Whaley beat juniors Emma Ferguson and Connie Owens 6-0, 6-1 while senior Brynne Brosmer and junior Paige Geisler were victorious in No. 2 doubles over junior Anna Hochgesang and senior Tabbi Hoing 6-0, 6-0.
“We hit a freight-train but they played well,” Raiders coach Paul Kinker said. “We knew what we were up against and we tried some things we didn't normally try. I'm proud of them.”
Kinker said his team learned a lot through the spring with 27 athletes in the program and he said confidence grew along with experience that will continue into next year.
“They gained some confidence that they didn't have earlier in the season,” Kinker said. “We only had three that had any varsity experience from last year so we had four that didn't.
“I think they definitely gained some confidence they didn't have and even some of the starters from last year.”
With confidence, Kinker said his players can focus on the finer points.
“They know what they can do,” he said. “Now they just need to work on their strategy and their game, there are some things that are missing. Now they can start working on the things that are going to make them better in that position.”
Jasper will play North Daviess on Tuesday in the regional semifinal with the championship match scheduled for Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.
“Every team is going to set goals, we feel like we're one of the top three or four teams in the state and we have a team to make a run,” Yarbrough said. “We have to go through this one match at a time, we have eight matches.
“We're going to count one at a time as we go and go from there, we're two eighths of the way there and taking it one step at a time.”