If all else fails, the La-Grange High boys tennis team could always play a good game of basketball.
The Grangers do have some skills, some athletes and some intimidating size. LaGrange High does grow them big with 6-foot-6 senior Gavin Battle, 6-foot-3 junior Jackson Kuerzi and 6-foot-2 sophomore Pierce Skinner.
They are tennis players of the competitive kind. They can slam dunk, too.
“They all have the total game, and they’re great kids. They’re working on leverage and angles. Our goal is to repeat as region champions,” said Grangers head tennis coach Kenny Moore.
LaGrange High has won nine region championships under the guidance of Moore since the spring of 1990. The LHS boys fully expect to win region title No. 10 with Moore this year.
“We have a strong team with six returning players. We also have a good crop (of players) coming up. We’re going to take it matchby- match,” said Skinner, who played all singles positions (No. 1, 2, 3) at some point last season.
Skinner has been laboring in the off season, too.
“I’ve been working on my net game. I know when to hit it and what shot to take,” said Skinner.
Senior Tony Choi has a developing game for the Grangers as well. He could wind up being the No. 3 singles player for LaGrange High this spring. The Grangers are deep with four seniors on the tennis team.
“I love our attitude. We’re really good and positive. We’re going to try to win every game and every match,” said Choi. “I like playing at the baseline and staying consistent.”
Battle is just one more weapon for the Grangers. He played No. 1 doubles last season, and Battle won at No. 1 doubles last year. He looks to be even better this season.
“I have good serves and a big wing span. I can serve it at 115 mph. I come out and hit every day. I serve a couple of buckets (of balls). I hit around 100 serves. I know how to hit some winning shots,” said Battle.
Seniors Blade Kendall and Tiger Lakhwani are two more returning region champions for LaGrange High. Kendall is close to nailing down the No. 1 singles spot. Lakhwani will be in the LHS lineup, too, but in doubles.
Bring on the matches and the warmer weather. The LaGrange High boys will open up the season on Monday, Feb. 13 at home against Columbus Northside. The matches will commence at 4 p.m. at the McCluskey Tennis Center.
The Grangers will also play on Wednesday, Feb. 15 at Lamar County. The matches in Barnesville will begin at 4 p.m. The Grangers will travel to Callaway High on Thursday, Feb. 16 as well matches at 4 o’clock.
Chris Fernsler Sports Writer