Friday, May 23, 2014
- by B.B. Branton
It was the battle of the Catholics. Fish Sticks Friday. Green Smoke from the Pope's Office.
Anyway one describes it, the Chattanooga Notre Dame doubles team of junior Charles Jabaley and sophomore J.R. Davis can paint the day gold as in state championship gold.
The Irish duo defeated the Knox Catholic brother combo of Jacob Lorino-Stephen Lorino, 6-4, 7-6 (2) for the school's first boys state doubles crown to complement singles gold by John Dorris and Chris Brown.
"We knew they were a talented team and wanted to focus on each point and not look ahead too much in the match," said a happy, yet relieved Jabaley whose deep, cross-court shot landed in on match point.
The play of the Chattanooga duo at times resembled the strategy of great U.S. Open doubles champions - Stan Smith-Bob Lutz, Ken Flach-Robert Seguso and Mike Bryan-Bob Bryan - and guided the winners to a perfect season at 23-0.Time and again, Davis would hit a deep return of serve followed by a crisp put-away by Jabaley at the net or execute soft hands to win fast-paced exchanges at the net.
Baylor Doubles Title: While Notre Dame won its first boys doubles, Baylor girls captured their sixth as seniors Samantha Caswell-McCall Morgan defeated teammates Maggie Crumbliss-Drew Haskins, 6-1, 6-2. Caswell ends her prep career with seven state medals; four team, two singles and one doubles.
Other Chattanooga players who were state runners-up today were McCallie's Luke Orthner-Carter Eaves (Boys D-II AA doubles), Michelle Fleenor (GPS) in Girls D-II AA singles, and Baylor's Marko Mandic Boys (D-II AA singles).
Jabaley and Davis now have their first gold medal and will work for the next 12 months for a shot at a second one.
"It was a fun match to watch as Charles and J.R. never got rattled even during tight points," said Notre Dame coach Nancy Fox.
The Notre Dame duo gained a service break to open the first set and never relinquished the lead in a 6-4 verdict.
The second set was back and forth as the Lorino brothers led 6-5 with four set points at 40-0, but the Chattanooga team won the next four points to send the match to a tie-breaker.
"We just focused on the one point in front of us when we were down 40-0 and we were able to get to the tie breaker," Jabaley stated
The victors gained a quick 4-1 lead, then pushed it to 5-2 before Jabaley served out the two final points for a couple of well-deserved gold medals and most likely a champions dinner minus the fish sticks.
contact B.B. Branton at email@example.com