CHARLESTON — Out of all of the semifinal matches played at the Schoenbaum Tennis Courts in Kanawha City, two sibling groups stole the show.
George Washington’s Rohen and Samir Jones and Cabell Midland’s Ashton and Aiden Cottrell played in some of the more entertaining matches on a hot, sunny Friday afternoon at the West Virginia state tennis tournament.
The familiarity between the two sibling groups predates the start of the tournament though. They’ve gone back and forth all season, have a great deal of respect for each other, and they’re extremely evenly matched, which drew the eye of many Friday afternoon.
Samir and Aiden met in the No. 2 singles semis and played a match lasting well over two hours, entertaining many of the fans and other participants observing.
Jones came out on top in the end, winning the final set 5-0 as Cottrell forfeited due to dealing with excessive cramps. Jones will face Huntington’s Ryan Patterson in the No. 2 final.
“That’s the longest amount of time I’ve been in an intense match like that,” Jones said. “I lost to him twice during the season so I’m really happy I was able to get this one. I thought we both fought really hard.”
Ashton and Rohen will face each other tomorrow in the boys No. 1 final after Jones picked up a straight-sets win over Hurricane’s Jacob Smolder early in the day and Cottrell took care of Max Philips-Hartley in the semifinals.
It’s another chance for Cottrell to prove himself in his second year of high school tennis, after falling in the No. 3 singles final last season to Samir Jones.
“Now I get to play his brother,” Cottrell said. “I get a second chance this year and hopefully I can play the way I did today and hopefully I can have an awesome outcome tomorrow.”
The Jones brothers will each be looking for individual victories on the final day of the tournament, playing in the first and second seedings, but will also go toe-to-toe with Hurricane duo Jacob Smolder and Zach Giertz in No. 1 doubles after beating the Cottrell brothers in the semifinals in another match that went the distance.
“It was a really great match. We have a ton of respect for them,” Rohen Jones said. “To have those guys out of the way is big. They are the only doubles team we lost to during the season.”
The Redskins will be well represented in both the singles and doubles finals Saturday, as will the Huntington Highlanders.
The top three seeds in Class AAA girls singles finals feature a Huntington-Hurricane matchup.
The Highlanders’ Baby Jones downed defending champion Hanley Riner Friday and will face a familiar foe in Hurricane’s Lexi Smolder for the title.
“It’s really exciting and I’m glad I get to play against one of my good friends Baby Jones,” Smolder said. “We’re both fierce competitors and I …….