April 12, 2014 in Sports

Tennis: LC’s Luke Brittan looks for perfect spot on court

Steve Christilaw Correspondent
 

Lewis and Clark boys tennis coach Tobin Phelps honestly isn’t sure what he’s going to do with Luke Brittan.

The junior is busy establishing himself as the top boys singles player in the Greater Spokane League, but by the time the postseason rolls around he may well opt to play doubles.

“I think the idea right now is to wait to see what happens in the Inland Empire Tournament and then make a decision,” Phelps said. “That tournament always gives you a pretty good idea of where you are. It crosses classifications, yes, but tennis-wise it’s a good indicator.”

It’s not a case of the coach being unsure of whether or not his player can reach the state tournament as a singles player.

“We played in a tournament down in the Tri-Cities and Luke beat a kid from Wenatchee to win the tournament, and that kid had played at state last year,” Phelps said. “I have no doubt that Luke can get to state in singles.”

What both Phelps and Brittan are considering is to what degree Brittan and his partner, Jordan Strandness, would be a serious challenger for a State 4A doubles title.

“Luke and Jordan won their first two matches on Friday last year at state,” Phelps said. “That got them into the semifinals, but they lost both their matches Saturday.”

The pair lost to a doubles team from Richland in the third-place match – a team they’d beaten earlier in the season.

“If they played doubles, I think they’d be a good bet to reach the finals,” Phelps said.

Phelps said Brittan’s toughest singles competition comes in practice.

Strandness plays No. 2 singles for the Tigers. Mead’s Josiah Hopkins and Central Valley’s Jacob Conant both provide solid competition.

If Brittan and Strandness don’t enter the postseason as a doubles team, Phelps figures he’ll still have the Greater Spokane League’s top entry.

Jacob Larson and Kenny Woodhead knocked off the No. 1 doubles team from Ferris, Eli Geranios and Alex Siok, before spring break.

Brittan is taking his game to the next level as a singles player.

“The thing that I’ve noticed about Luke is that his games has improved, yes, but his mental game is so much stronger,” Phelps said. “He goes into matches with a better idea of what he wants to do and he doesn’t get down on himself if it doesn’t work right away. He’s a much better player mentally than he was before.”

Mead’s Micca Motzer had a successful first season as the Panthers’ No. 1 singles players, winning the district tournament and qualifying for the state tournament, where she won her first match before losing back-to-back.

This year she is again the GSL’s top singles player, knocking off Kyra Harmes of Central Valley, one of her primary challengers, 6-4, 6-2 in a match the Bears won 5-2.

Doubles teams in the GSL are often a late-season surprise.

“I know on the boys side, Mead’s Bill Wagstaff always manages to come up with a surprise or two with doubles teams that you haven’t seen before,” Phelps said.


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