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(File photo) Jasmine Howard “can play with anyone in southwest Missouri,” based on her performances last week, according to coach David Smashey.

Howard, Wells Stand Out in Singles Play at Home Tourney

Jasmine Howard defended Republic’s tennis courts Friday when she won the top flight in singles play at the Republic Tournament. Izzy Wells finished second in the #2 singles flight. Their finishes were the highlight among Republic players in the field.

The Lady Tigers finished fourth out of nine teams. Springfield Catholic won the team championship, with Nixa and Bolivar finishing second and third.

Howard defeated Lila Griesemer of Catholic in the championship match, 8-6.

“Jasmine’s shot quality is as good or better than anyone in southwest Missouri. When she’s patient and lets the point develop, she almost always ends up with a good opportunity to win the point,” said coach David Smashey. “Her serving has also been terrific, which really puts her opponents under a lot of pressure. It’s nice to see her game really coming together at the right time here before our individual district and the team postseason.”

Before Friday’s tournament, it had already been a busy week for Republic. The Lady Tigers went 1-1 in conference play, losing to Nixa (3-6) and beating Webb City (9-0).

Howard dominated her singles match against Nixa, beating Arabella Cosgrove 8-2. “The way Jasmine is playing now, she can play with anyone in southwest Missouri,” Smashey said. But Republic lost all five of the other singles matches, despite being competitive in three of them.

Despite the loss, Smashey said he continues to be impressed with his team’s improvement. The team started the year with only two players with extensive varsity experience.

“I was incredibly proud of not just the quality of our play (against Nixa), but the way we hung in and competed in tough matches,” he said. “I’m also proud of how they supported one another — to see kids who have just lost a tough match immediately walk over and start cheering for a teammate is awesome and really speaks to their character.”

Republic continues its season today at home against Springfield Glendale.

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