Benton boys win South doubles, 5 headed to state

Benton senior Dawson Ramsey serves during the 5A South Conference Tournament earlier this week. Ramsey and fellow senior teammate Mason Hart won the South doubles title on Tuesday. DR. FRANK THIBAULT
Tony Lenahan
Sports Editor

Senior Benton Panthers doubles duo Mason Hart and Dawson Ramsey won the 5A South Conference doubles title Tuesday at Lakeside High School in Hot Springs. Considering Hart and Ramsey were playing fellow senior teammates Henry Bethel and and Wes Guerra in the finals, it was a very competitive match.
The No. 2 seed Hart/Ramsey combo would upend their teammates and No. 1 seed Bethel/Guerra 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 as both doubles duos earn a spot in the 5A State Tournament next week at Hot Springs Country Club and Lakeside High School, where the Panthers will again be seeded No. 1 and 2.
“I knew they were both No. 1 doubles in terms of their skill level and I alternated them in that position all season,” Benton Coach Melanie Kiker said. “It paid off getting the 1 and 2 seeds. The best I could hope for happened when they met each other in the finals.”
In the South semifinals, Ramsey and Hart would drop their first set 4-6 to Lake Hamilton, but came back for 6-4, 6-4 victories to reach the final. Bethel and Guerra defeated El Dorado 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 in the semis.
Also headed to state is junior Alex Trudell, who was the No. 1 South seed and would fall in the 5A South girls singles final against host Lakeside’s Haley Fauber, the No. 2 seed. Though Trudell defeated Fauber 8-3 during the regular season, Fauber would get the best of Trudell on Tuesday. Fighting a bum ankle, Trudell fell 6-1, 6-1 in the title match.
“I expected Alex to win her finals match since she had beaten Haley Fauber during regular season,” Kiker said. “A sore ankle kept Alex from being able to take the win.”
Benton senior and No. 3 seed Sadie Nosal would win her first-round match against Mosley of Sheridan, but ended up falling in the second round to end her season.
Senior girls doubles duo Lydia Wilson and Paige Markel, the No. 9 seed, won their first-round match over Lake Hamilton’s Ludlow and Perez, but went up against No. 1 seed Dolan and Cowen of Lakeside in the second round and fell. Lady Panthers junior Madison Green and freshman Rylee Sisco, the No. 7 seed, also won their first-round match over Sheridan’s Lewellen and Crouse, but went up against No. 2 seed Nutt and Calhoun, dropping their second-round match.
In Benton boys singles, senior Zac Van Cleave fell to El Dorado’s Evan Brooks in the first round and Panthers freshman Luke Pelton lost in his first-round match to El Dorado’s Gage Reed.