published Saturday, April 9th, 2011

McMinn Big Bang boys’ champ

East Hamilton tennis coach Shelley Williams didn’t get that job until two weeks into this school year. Her previous position — and one she was about to return to — was assistant coach at Cleveland High School, where she helped her former coach, Elizabeth Davis.

They face each other today.

The East Hamilton and Cleveland girls will meet at the Town Hall at Signal Mountain for the Power division championship in the first-ever Chattanooga Big Bang Tennis Tournament.

McMinn County claimed the Power division boys’ title with two wins Friday. Each team was guaranteed three matches, but the Cherokees’ scheduled opponent this morning, Red Bank, forfeited because it won’t have enough players to play.

The East Hamilton and McMinn girls were tied after six singles matches, but the Lady Hurricanes pulled out a 5-4 victory with two wins in doubles. Jordan Kaset and Carly Jones sealed the victory with an 8-6 victory at No. 3 doubles.

“I was proud of my girls,” Williams said. “I think the girls are starting to come together.”

She also admitted a certain degree of excitement of going against her former high school coach.

“I hope we beat them,” she said. “You always want to go back and be better than your former coach. I wish them luck, but I hope that we’re shaking hands with them after a win.”

Cleveland’s girls steamrolled through their pool, losing a total of four games against Soddy-Daisy and Signal Mountain.

The McMinn boys were even better, though, losing only one game in gaining wins over East Hamilton and Signal Mountain. The 2010 Class AAA runners-up started off slowly, according to coach Susan Ray, but got better as the day progressed.

“We were able to get a lot of experience and see how we can improve in match play,” she said. “We haven’t played a lot, so we’re not sure where we stand.

“Today showed that the practice and the time we’ve put in has paid off.”

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