Making quite a racket

Grand Valley teams well represented in 5A regional tennis finals

Grand Junction’s Carolena Campos returns a shot Thursday during her No. 1 singles match with Littleton’s Junai Testa during the Class 5A Region 6 tournament. Campos lost in the semifinals, but still has a chance to make the state tournament if she gets a playback match today.

Led by Central High School’s Aimee Basinski, Grand Valley girls tennis players will vie for championships in every flight except one today at the Class 5A Region 6 tournament.

Basinski, a senior seeking her third consecutive regional title at No. 1 singles, cruised to a 6-1, 6-1 win in the first round Thursday, then turned back Grand Junction freshman Carolena Campos in the semifinals 6-2, 6-4.

Basinski had to work for the second set as Campos took a 3-2 lead. Then, after Basinski went ahead 4-3, Campos broke the senior’s serve, using a hard, cross-court backhand for the game-winning point and 4-4 score.

Basinski broke back, though, then held serve to earn her spot in the final opposite Regis Jesuit’s Shelby Cerkovnik.

“I just had to make a mental decision to win it,” Basinski said of the second set against Campos. “I just kept my head in it and tried to keep every ball in and tried to stay aggressive.”

The loss didn’t end Campos’ tournament, though, as she won a playback match 6-1, 6-2 over Fruita Monument’s Lyric Fortson, keeping Campos alive for third place and a possible challenge match for second place, which she will get if she wins the third-place match and Basinski wins the title.

The top two finishers in each flight advance to next week’s state tournament in Denver.

The Campos-Fortson match was closer than the score indicated as the two exchanged long volley after long volley under the lights at the Elliott Tennis Center. The matches ran into the evening Thursday after the start of the first round was moved from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to accommodate Fort Collins, which couldn’t travel Wednesday because of a snowstorm.

The only flight without a Grand Valley representative is No. 2 singles, but Grand Junction’s Anne Hughes and Central’s Keira Trujillo won playback matches, and the two will square off today for third place, with the winner possibly getting a playback for second.

At No. 3 singles, Grand Junction’s Sierra Filutze reached the final, cruising in her semifinal 6-1, 6-1 after needing a tiebreaker to win her first set in the first round en route to a 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 win.

“Sierra has always been up and down,” Tigers coach Carol Elliott said. “She had a good day today, and I’m really happy for her to be in the finals, but she has to play a little better tomorrow.”

Elliott had a similar message for her No. 1 doubles team of Natalie Sufka and Morgen Mantlo, who teamed for a pair of relatively easy wins.

“(No.) 1 doubles had a solid day,” Elliott said, “but they have to come out tomorrow and play a little better.”

Elliott wants them to win their finals and not risk a playback for second place.

Fruita Monument has the most finalists of the valley schools with three: Taylor Poudrier and Amanda Charles at No. 2 doubles; Sara Cesark and Lindsay Dempsey at No. 3 doubles; and Kelsi Barnett and Kayla Lyon at No. 4 doubles.

“I’m really, really proud of the girls’ effort today,” Wildcats coach Clint Davis said. “Even the players who aren’t winning their matches, they’re leaving their heart and soul out there.”

Poudrier and Charles, meanwhile, might give Davis and Co. heart failure, as the duo needed three sets to win each of their matches Thursday. Both times they won the first set, dropped the second, then rebounded to take the third. Adding to the drama in the semifinal, Poudrier and Charles needed to win a tiebreaker to claim the first set.

Davis said he’s used to the theater that is Fruita’s No. 2 doubles matches.

“They’re 15-3 on the season, and they’ve had a lot of matches like that,” he said. “They pull them out in the clutch.”

Regis Jesuit leads the eight-team regional field with four finalists and topped the team standings after Day 1 with 36 points. Grand Junction is second with 22 points, and Fruita Monument is third with 18. Central is fifth with 13.


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