12th Region Tennis Tournament: Bandura, Story Lincoln’s only first-round survivors

Published 2:13 pm Thursday, May 18, 2017

DANVILLE — After two days of rain delays, the sun finally broke for the 2017 12th Region Tennis Tournament, with the first round of the tournament getting underway Sunday on the Centre College, Danville High School and Boyle County High School courts.
Lincoln County’s freshman/sophomore team of Kade Bandura and Carter Story played well in the opening round, courting a victory over Berea’s Donavyn Ceesay and Michael Mecham at Boyle County.
The Patriot duo let Ceesay and Mecham stick around in the first set of the best of three match before pulling out a 6-4 win. But they took care of business in the second set, securing a spot in Monday’s second round with a 6-0 finish.
However, Bandura’s and Story’s regional run would come to an early end on Monday as they were pitted against one of the tourney’s seeded teams.
Bandura and Story were two of the first individuals taking the courts at Centre College Monday, stepping out to take on the team of Luke Coffman and Austin Harne of Casey County. Bandura and Story got two games off Coffman and Harne, who were seeded No. 8 in the tourney, but that was all as the Casey team advanced in a 6-2, 6-0 win.
“Kade and Carter did not do as well as we had hoped, but they did a lot of good things today,” Lincoln coach Allen Lewis said. “A lot of things that we talked about before the match started – that Casey was going to have some really good serves and kind of how to deal with that – and I thought they did deal with it the way that I wanted them to. It was just the serves were too fast. There’s not a lot you can do to get it back and you’re at a disadvantage when they dictate the point with their serve.”
Bandura’s and Story’s own service errors did not help their play against Casey’s top team.
“We didn’t serve very good today,” said Lewis. “When you’re going against a team serving really good and you’re not serving very good, it’s tough to win points. And we stayed in a lot of the games. A lot of the games went to deuce and we were right in there, so we played well.”
“Basically, everything that we did other than serving they forced us to make those errors,” he added. “It wasn’t that we just didn’t play good, they were dictating the points and we stayed in it as long as we could.”
Casey’s No. 1 team would bow out in the following round Monday, falling 2-6, 3-6 to the tourney’s No. 3 team of Caleb Miller and Dawson Hellard of Madison Southern.
Unfortunately, Bandura and Story would be the only Lincoln athletes netting a win in the regional tournament, with the Patriots and Lady Patriots going 1-7 in the first round.
“No, we would have been underdogs in 10 of the 12 matches, some major underdogs. Most of those played really well,” Lewis said. “I would like to have had a girl get to the second round, but tough draws and we are really young.”
Perhaps the biggest first-round loss came on the Danville High courts, as seniors Ryan Montgomery and Roland Taylor, Lincoln’s No. 1 doubles team, and the tourney’s No. 7 seeded team, were eliminated.
The senior duo took the first set 6-2 against the unseeded team of Cameron East and Alex McFarland of Wayne County but went down in back-to-back tiebreakers. Montgomery and Taylor dropped the second-set tiebreaker 6-7 (5-7) to send the match into a super set tiebreaker then East and McFarland powered on to take the tiebreaker 12-10 to score the upset.
“Ryan and Roland was a heartbreaking upset. It was a very, very, very tough match,” said Lewis. “They won the first set pretty easily. The second set ended up going to the tiebreaker and they lost the tiebreak. When I got over there from Boyle, it was 6-3 (Wayne). They fought back and actually had the match point. They were up 10-9 but then lost a couple points and lost.  It was definitely heartbreaking.”
While Wayne’s East and McFarland were unseeded, Lewis said they were a very strong team.
“Wayne was a good team. They weren’t seeded but they played really well together. It was an upset but they were a team that, once they got some momentum, they carried that momentum throughout and they got it.”
In the Lady Patriots doubles competition, both the teams of Kaycie Bandura and Savanna Smith and Raelyn Amon and Kaitlynn Wilks were eliminated by seeded teams in Sunday’s first round.
Lincoln’s top team of Bandura and Smith went down 2-6, 1-6 to Sarah Harne and Laci Lee of Casey County, the tourney’s No. 3 seed, while Amon and Wilks were defeated 0-6, 3-6 by the No. 4 seeded team of Kate Leahey and Laura Nolan of Boyle County. 
Patriot netter Jacob Baird also found himself pitted against a seeded player in the region’s opening round. Baird took on Boyle’s top player and the tourney’s No.5 seed Luke Duncan and Duncan reigned on his home court with a 6-3, 6-3 win.
“We got some tough draws this year,” Lewis said. “We didn’t get the wins that we wanted but I thought all played good.”
The Lincoln boys other singles player, Lee Amon, also saw an early exit, with Travis New of Southwestern knocking him out of contention, winning 6-1, 6-1.
Lincoln’s Logan Godbey and Alyea Towle played side-by-side in their first-round matches at Centre Sunday – picking up nine games before bowing out of the tourney.
Godbey, playing in her final tennis match, fell 1-6, 5-7 to Andrea Martinez of Southwestern while Towle, a middle school athlete, lost  2-6, 1-6 to Natalie Hampton of Pulaski County.
Regionals was the final tennis match for Lincoln’s seniors – Godbey, Montgomery and Taylor. For the underclassmen who will be returning, Lewis said now is the time to work on maturing in their game.
“We’re young,” Lewis said. “They work this summer and they can improve a lot. I talked to Alyea yesterday. She’s an eighth-grader and she was playing  against a senior. Their games were back and forth, very close, but the senior found a way to win. That’s just the thing about maturing and getting older, you find a way to win and get it done. Next season they’ll be another year older and a lot better.”