Floyd Central rolls past Jasper, 4-1, in semis


JASPER — At the start of the boys semi-state tennis match held Saturday at Jasper High School, Wildcats coach Scott Yarbrough promised the fans they were in for a treat.


Four of the best remaining tennis programs were in attendance and ready to swing the racquet, run the baseline and crowd the net in an attempt to cement their place in the state finals. And by the the time the action was over in the afternoon, Floyd Central had defeated Jasper 4-1, and Columbus North defeated Castle 3-2.

Yarbrough was quick to give credit to the Highlanders for their efforts on the court. Both teams put out their top performers and they did everything in their power to leave the court with a win. But when the skill levels are this high and the competition is fierce, sometimes it’s a simple matter of “better is better.”

“If you could guarantee victory all the time, then you wouldn’t play the game,” Yarbrough said. “We played as good as Floyd Central, and we didn’t win some of the key points. We had our chances is every match, we just couldn’t finish it off today. Floyd Central today was a little better.”

Floyd Central’s Lucas Sakamaki was able to sweep the No. 1 singles match 6-2, 6-1 over Eli Franks. Eric Whitehouse was able to beat Max Sternberg in the No. 3 singles match 2-6, 7-5, 6-1. Michael Kluemper was able to take the No. 2 singles match over Connor Mason for the Wildcats 6-2, 6-7, 7-6. Floyd Central took both doubles matches: Jordan Wilson and Alex Poe took the win in the No. 1 match 6-7, 6-4, 6-3 over Mitchell Kluemper and Bennett Schmitt, while Gabe Cora and Joe Lincoln defeated Hudson Himmsel and Jobe Luebbehusen 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 in the No. 2 match.

“Senior year has been the best tennis year of all the years I’ve been here,” Michael Kluemper said. “This is one of the best matches I’ve ever played, and I’m very thankful for this program.”

Yarborough said one of the greatest positives to come from this season was watching the underclassmen players step and grow over the course of the tennis season. Franks and Kluemper are both seniors and will leave holes at the No. 1 and 2 slots on the team next season, but Yarbrough is confident he will simply be reloading instead of rebuilding when next fall rolls around.

“You have to replace those top two guys in your lineup. We have plenty of guys who are able to do that,” he said. “We’ll see what happens between October and August when we start up next year.”

“We had three sophomores and freshman, so four out of seven spots were underclassmen,” Franks added. “I’m excited to see how they grow and how they do next year.”

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