Crowning success

Joy of tennis still resonates with Basinski after Taco Bell title

Aimee Basinski returns a shot Thursday during her 6-2, 6-2 victory over Anne Hughes in the Girls 18 Singles final at the Taco Bell Western Slope Open at Elliott Tennis Center. Basinski will try for a second Taco Bell title when she begins play in the Women’s Open Singles division today.



The first vivid memory of her life involved watching a fluorescent green ball float toward her. Aimee Basinski looked up to her Mom, and repeatedly sent the ball back over the net about her height.

Fun, for the 3 year old, was defined as tennis. It was the first fun she knew.

“I’d go play with some friends,” said Aimee’s mother, Georgia Basinski, “and she’d play or color while I played. But instead of wanting to go home after we played, she wanted to go hit balls. She just loved to hit the ball.”

That was then.

Now Basinski, a 17-year-old senior-to-be at Central High School, is on her own, a Taco Bell Tennis Western Slope Champion. She defeated Grand Junction High School’s Anne Hughes, 6-2, 6-2 in the Girls 18 Singles final on Thursday.

She’ll compete in the Women’s Open division beginning today.

“I don’t ever remember not having tennis in my life,” Basinski said. “When I go play, it takes all the stress away and I’m happy.”

The Taco Bell tournament allows Basinski to try different things. Whip more top spin. Play out points a bit longer. Take a few more chances.

Luke Ledebur thought he nearly took too many. He won his Boys 18 Singles final with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Drake Giese.

But Ledebur, who will play tennis at Colorado Mesa University, trailed 2-0 in the second set before reeling off six straight games.

“I just had to cut down on my errors and got more balls in play,” Ledebur said. “I might have gone for it too much. After winning the first set I might have got out of my comfort zone and sprayed a few shots.”

But Ledebur settled in to win the division after losing in the Boys 18 Singles final last season.

Carolena Campos was the big winner at Taco Bell, capturing three divisions: Girls 16 and 14 Singles and, on Wednesday, 14-16 Mixed Doubles.

She said simply: “It’s cool. You don’t always win every single one.”

Campos’s sister, Julianne Campos, also won the Girls 12 Singles final, scoring a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Sophia Nelson.

Max Proietti won his first Taco Bell title, a 6-4, 6-3 win over Aaron Gossage in the Boys 16 Singles final.

He took advantage of the heat. Gossage tracked balls along the baseline, burning energy in the summer heat.

“I just try to get in his head and not let him get in my head,” Proietti said. “My serve helped out a lot — especially my first serve. He retuned it, but not hard enough to where I couldn’t get it back.”

Proietti, 16, is the youngest in a family of tennis players that includes Dylan, 20, and Alex, 19.

Max Proietti works for the Grand Junction High School school newspaper.

Dylan used to be the editor in chief.

“So I get asked, ‘Are you going to be the editor in chief?’ ” Max Proietti said.

Expectations to be as good as his brother held true in tennis as well. But Max Proietti has met them.

“There are definitely parts of my game that are my own,” Max Proietti said, “my own kind of shots. It’s my own game mixed in with what my brother and sister have helped me out with.”

TACO TIDBITS

Dreher’s here: Billy Dreher, the new Fruita Monument High School boys basketball head coach who is the leading 3-point shooter (percentage-wise) in University of California-Berkley history, moved back into the Grand Valley on June 1.

He said he’s only played tennis four times in the past four months. He lost his 4.0 Men’s Singles and 4.5 Mixed Doubles matches.

Dreher is a Fruita Monument High School graduate.

“I’ll try to play this tournament every summer when I’m around,”  Dreher said.

Titlists Fall: After taking six months off of tennis with tendinitis in his right wrist, Grand Junction High School tennis standout Spencer Weinberg played in the Mixed 18 Doubles division.

And teaming up with Bronte Hayward of Fruita Monument High, Weinberg helped Hayward win the title and defeat the championship winners of the 18 singles divisions — Aimee Basinski and Luke Ledebur, 7-6 (7-5), 2-6, 10-4.

But the wrist isn’t completely healed for Weinberg.

“Just doing some more intensive therapy,” Weinberg said.


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