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May 21, 2024

Lady Colts Reign Supreme 

Bayou wins 5A State Girls Tennis Championship

The Bayou Academy Lady Colts were on a mission heading into this year’s Midsouth Association of Independent Schools 5A State Girls Tennis Tournament on Monday (May 1) at the Ridgeland Tennis Center in Ridgeland. 

After losing a tiebreaker to finish second to Starkville last year in the MAIS 5A State Tournament, the Lady Colts had their minds up that they were going to be far and away the best team in the state.

The Lady Colts ended up accomplishing their mission on Monday as they won the 5A State Championship. This year marked the first time Bayou has won a girls state tennis title. 

The Lady Colts scored six points to finish ahead of second place Pillow Academy which tallied three points.

Bayou Academy Head Tennis Coach John Cox said the girls were hungry and more determined than ever this year. 

“I think they were well aware they lost those tie breakers,” said Cox. “I didn’t have to remind them. They kind of reminded themselves.”

Bayou sent girls in three divisions and won state in all three divisions. 

Bayou had a clean sweep in the girls singles divisions as senior Katy Clark won the No. 1 girls singles championship, while sophomore Adair Gaines won the No. 2 girls singles title. Freshman Charli Woods and eighth grader Genevieve “V” Gaines won the No. 2 girls doubles title.

Clark defeated Central Hinds’ Macie Curtis 6-1, 6-1 in the semifinals and defeated Starkville’s Grace Delp 6-1, 6-3 in the championship match, while Adair Gaines beat Brookhaven’s Taylor Douglas 6-0, 6-2 in the semifinals and Lamar’s Sara Swift 6-0, 6-3 in the championship match. Clark has battled Delp four times this year with Clark going 3-1 while Gaines has battled Swift twice this year with Gaines winning both matches. 

Clark didn’t make it out of North State last year. She played in the 4A State Tournament as a sophomore in 2021 as she teamed with Abby Marchetta to finish 4A State Runner-Up in the No. 1 girls doubles division. Clark posted a record of 13-1 in No. 1 girls singles this season. 

“I told her (Clark) before she went out and played that you left a big trophy two years ago,” said Cox. “I told her don’t leave it and just take one this time and she did. She’s been determined all year.”

Gaines won her second straight state championship in No. 2 girls singles. She finished the year 15-0 and is 28-1 in No. 2 girls singles action over the last two years. She also competed in the 4A State Tournament as an eighth grader and went to the semifinals in No.1 girls singles in 2021. Gaines has won three consecutive North State Championships to go with her two state titles. 

“Adair has had a pretty good run,” said Cox. “She’s got three North State Titles with one at No. 1 girls and two state championships at No. 2 girls. I tell you, it’s pretty fun to write a line-up card when you know you’ve got that going out there.”

Woods and Genevieve Gaines defeated Brookhaven’s Swayze Poole and Annaston Poole 6-2, 6-3 in the semifinals to advance to the championship match against Pillow’s Jane Kimmel Buford and Sarah Douglas Thach. Woods and Gaines battled in an exciting three set showdown as Buford and Thach won the first set 6-2 which put Woods and Gaines behind the 8-ball. Woods and Gaines didn’t sweat the pressure as they won the next two sets 6-3 and 6-2. Woods and Gaines posted an impressive record of 13-3 during the year. Woods and Gaines and Buford and Thach faced each other four times during the year with Woods and Gaines going 3-1. 

The state championship was sweet for Gaines as she finished second in No. 2 girls doubles last year with Elle Nassar. Gaines and Nassar lost in three sets in the championship match last season. Genevieve is Adair’s younger sister. 

“V was so close last year,” said Cox. “She lost in the third set last year. If she would have won her match, the girls would have won. She lives in the same household with Adair, so I’m sure they remind each other every now and then on whose won. Charli came in and you don’t get more athletic than Charli. They compliment each other well. V is so consistent, and Charli ends points. She’s kind of the thunder out there sometimes.”

In the boys tournament, the Colts finished with two points as they had players in two divisions finish state runner-up. As of press time, the boys tournament was still in progress. According to Cox, the Colts could finish anywhere between third and fourth. 

In No. 1 boys singles, Bayou junior Holden Cooke defeated Madison St. Joe’s Edderek Cole 6-3, 6-1 in the semifinals but lost to Cathedral sophomore Alexander Monagan 6-3, 6-0 in the championship round. Cooke, who finished the year at 15-1, lost to Monagan in the state championship match for the second straight year. Cooke is 29-4 in singles action over the last two years. 

“It’s something for him to build on,” said Cox. “Holden knows he’s not going anywhere. If Holden wants a singles state championship, he knows who he has to go through.”

In the No. 1 boys doubles division, Bayou’s John Christopher Cox and Walker Cox defeated Madison-St. Joe’s Derek Starling and Jonathan Warnock 6-2, 6-2 in the semifinals but lost to Starkville’s Harrison Holliday and Jacob Crimm in three exciting sets in the championship round. Walker and John Christopher won the first set 6-1 but Holliday and Crimm won the next two sets 6-2 and 6-3. John Christopher and Walker has battled Holliday and Crimm four times this year with each team winning twice. 

“JC and Walker, I thought, played really well,” said Coach Cox. “We were aggressive at first which was kind of the plan. That’s the fourth time we’ve played them and that’s tough. You’ve got to give credit to Starkville. They made some big shots. They got blitzed in the first set. We were up 6-1 and so you have to give credit there.”

Bayou junior Ben Marchetta competed in the semifinals in the No. 2 boys singles division and lost to Madison-St. Joe’s Will Mannheim 6-1, 6-4. This marked the second straight year Marchetta has lost to Mannheim in the semifinals. Marchetta finished the year at 6-5 in No. 2 boys singles. Marchetta has made it to the semifinals of the state tournament the last three years.

“That’s three straight years Ben has gotten to the semifinals of overall state and can’t really bust through,” said Cox. “It gives him something to work toward for next year and gives you something to talk about. I’m proud of him and all of the players.”

Cox’s assistant coaches with the boys and girls are Andy Lee and Lewis Butler Jr. Cox was grateful for the help he received from those coaches during the year.