CLINTON — Lady Knights Alanna Ludlum and Amber Long, who teamed up to go undefeated during the Four County Conference schedule, added a conference tournament title on Wednesday in Clinton.
“It wasn’t easy,” said West Bladen coach Jeff Atkinson. “They dropped the first set … and were down 4-1 in the second set. But (they) stayed with it and were able to battle back.”
Ludlum and Long were stunned in that first game by Nicole Spell and Blake Daniel of Clinton, 6-2. And when the West Bladen duo fell behind in the second set, things looked bleak. But Ludlum and Long turned the tables quickly.
The Lady Knights’ tandem won three straight points to jump in front 5-4, but Spell and Daniel battled back to take a 6-5 edge. Ludlum and Long never wavered, and won the next point to knot the score at 6-6 and force a tiebreaker — won by the West Bladen girls, 7-5.
“Since the teams had split sets, a 10-point tiebreaker was played to decide the match,” Atkinson said.
“Ludlum and Long leaped out to a quick 4-0 lead en route to a 10-4 win that gave them the conference tournament doubles championship.
After a first-round bye, Ludlum and Cole got to the title match by defeating a Clinton opponent in the second round, 6-1 and 6-3.
In other matches, East Bladen’s Justyna Gargala defeated Helen Lopez of West Bladen in the first round of singles play, 6-3 and 6-3, while Ting Lin of East Bladen knocked off Madison Singletary of West Bladen, 6-4 and 6-2. Gargala and Lin each lost in the second round to Clinton opponents.
In doubles, East Bladen’s Kathryn Cole and Cassie Hill fell in the first round, 6-0 and 6-0, and the duo of Trinity Carroll and Maddie West of East Bladen also fell in the first round, 6-4 and 6-0.
The West Bladen team of Haley Dimery and Conner Brisson won their first-round match (against East’s Carroll and West), then fell in the second round to Spell and Daniel of Clinton, 6-0 and 6-1.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.