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The Triton Central tennis team won the Shelby County Tournament Tuesday at Morristown with a 3-2 victory over Southwestern.

By KATRINA BRANSON - kbranson@shelbynews.com

MORRISTOWN – The Triton Central Tigers came ready to play Tuesday afternoon in a 3-2 victory over Southwestern to repeat as Shelby County Tournament champions.

Earlier in the season the Tigers fell 3-2 to the Spartans. This time around, TC found ways to pull through for the win. 

“I think this time around the experience of our team helped,” said Tigers' head coach Austin Hall. “We had a lot of three set losses in the beginning of the season. Then, a couple of weeks ago we were able to start turning that around and focus a little bit more from point to point. We've just improved a lot as a team over the course of the year so far.”

Triton Central (5-6) won all three singles positions Tuesday to take home the title. At No. 1, Luke Sanders defeated Mick Abbott (6-1, 6-0), while Jordan Brandman defeated Nick Robinson (6-0, 6-4) at No. 2. At No. 3, Caleb Anderson earned the win over Grant Emerick (6-2, 6-3).

The Spartans took victories in doubles play with Ryan Brockman and Anthony Atwood defeating Ryan Shipley and Blake Anderson at No. 1 (6-2, 6-4) and Connor Rowe and Decklan Pappano defeating Cameron Elder and Alex Crouse (6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (5)) in a close match at No. 2. 

The first time the two teams met at the beginning of the season, Brandman fell to Robinson (6-4, 6-3), which helped give Southwestern the win.

“Jordan Brandman had a tough, close loss today,” said Hall. “He turned it around and played really well. At the beginning of the season when we played Southwestern the first time it was lack of experience at No. 2 singles. Now that he has that experience he's able to really improve on what he needed to work on.”

Hall admits that Tuesday afternoon was the best the team has played all season. However, with the sectional around the corner, it is not time stop.

“I think we need to work on staying focused point to point,” Hall said. “Our doubles needs to be a little more aggressive. We have to have that focus. It's necessary because in sectionals every point will matter. We are very competitive with every team in sectionals, and it'll come down to who is playing their best.”

Although Southwestern, which suffered its second loss on the year (8-2), didn't get the win, Spartans' head coach Brian Ebersold still saw improvements from his team.

“Grant Emerick played better matches today,” said Ebersold. “He played one of the best matches as a freshman, and he just needs to continue to do that – that's all you can ask. Mick Abbott played well, but playing a great competitor like Luke Sanders isn't easy. Our No. 1 doubles team played well and confident.

“You can't ever think just because you beat a team earlier in the season you're going to do it again. Props to Triton Central – they came to play and keep that trophy. We just weren't hungry enough.”

Katrina Branson is a Sports writer for The Shelbyville News. Follow Katrina on Twitter @k_b527.