Pirates get taste of state tennis


AUSTIN – Before the score was posted early in the 4A Girls Doubles quarterfinals at state, a Granbury parent leaned over and asked, “I wonder who is the home team?”

About that time, the scoreboard was updated with the first score of the match. Highland Park was declared the home team and Granbury the visitors.

But then, as often as Highland Park has sent players to state tennis, the Penick-Allison Tennis Center at the University of Texas must certainly feel like a second home to the Scots.

Meanwhile, Granbury’s Kate Bramlett and Elizabeth Morton were doing something that had not been accomplished at the school since 1962. And whether or not Granbury ever catches Highland Park in overall state appearances, coach Jeff Bramlett said they have no plans on waiting another 50-plus years to get back to Austin.

“I’ve had more coaches come up to me saying it’s great to have Granbury up here,” he said. “Emily Foster (legendary college coach) said, ‘Jeff, I knew it was just a matter of time, and there’ll be others. This is only the beginning.”

The Highland Park duo of Maddie Gordon and Elizabeth Burgos won 6-3, 6-1 in Monday’s opening round. And while the loss stung, as does any loss to folks who like to win, Bramlett and Morton agreed that it was only a footnote to a great season.

“I feel very accomplished. We got to state, and that was our goal,” said Bramlett.

“Being here is just icing on the cake,” added Morton.

Bramlett and Morton won both District 7-4A and Region I to earn their state berth. Despite not having played together much before late in the spring season, they fashioned a 19-2 record coming into state.

And there was a moment Monday when they appeared to rattle Gordon and Burgos a little. Down 4-1 in the first set, they broke Highland Park’s serve in two of the next three games to close within 5-3.

But, as they did seven times in the match, Gordon and Burgos broke Granbury’s serve, this time in what was the most critical game of the match.

“I’d say that was the turning point,” said coach Bramlett. “It was our serve, we had momentum. Anything could have happened if we win that game, especially since we had broken them twice in a row.”

Bramlett and Morton began strong, taking the opening game of the first set with Morton putting away two big shots at the net.

Then, Gordon and Burgos put them on the defensive for most of the remainder of the match.

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