Kody Lane is no longer Butte High’s sacrificial lamb.
The No. 1 singles player on the Bulldogs’ boys’ tennis team proved that beyond a shadow of a doubt Friday, going 2-0 as Butte High played to 4-all ties with Helena Capital and Helena High.
Butte High’s girls split on the day, beating Capital and falling to Helena. The scores of both matches were 5-3. The girls played at Stodden Park, while the boys battled at Father Sheehan Park.
Lane was clearly the highlight of the day for the Bulldog boys. He beat Hans Harris of Helena High 6-0, 6-2 before topping Capital’s Derek Lund 6-4, 6-7 (9-11), 10-0.
“He proved he’s a No. 1 player,” Butte High coach Mavis Bentley.
Lane, the reigning Butte city tournament champion, is in his second full season as Butte High’s No. 1 player. That means Lane is basically facing the best of the best each time out.
“Last year I went oh and how many we played,” Lane said between victories Friday. “Last week I got crushed.”
With the two wins Friday, Lane improved to 3-2 on the season as he hopes to earn his first trip to the Class AA State tournament. Lane, who started playing singles midway through his sophomore year, came within one win of State two years ago.
“It’s tough coming in,” Lane said of playing Class AA No. 1 singles players. “They get to play year-round. They come out in the first game and they’re as good as they’ll be all season.”
Bentley points out that Butte doesn’t have an indoor facility, like most Class AA cities do.
“No. 1 singles is hard,” Bentley said. “They are serious. If you look at the players recruit, they’re the No. 1 singles players.”
Lane, who ran cross country the last three years at Butte High, plans to go to Montana Tech and play for the school’s club hockey team.
First, he plans one extending his tennis season as far as he can this year.
“I felt good,” he said after beating Harris.
Bentley pointed to that victory being particularly big because Helena is in Butte High’s conference — along with Bozeman — this year.
In other singles actions for the Butte High boys, Luke Wilde and Dennis Powers each went 1-1 on the day.
In doubles, David Starceivch and Tanner Tregidga went 1-1, as did Blake Casagranda and Levin Mullaney. Dustin LaMiaux and Seth Jaksha went 2-0. One of those wins, though, was a forfeit victory.
On the girls’ side, Molly Nelson was thrown into the fire in the singles competition. The sophomore was moved to the No. 1 slot because senior Hallie Hawe recently found out she had a fracture foot and will wear a boot for the next month.
Hawe, however, still played one match on that fracture on Friday. She fell in straight sets to Helena High’s Madeline Scherting.
Though she went 0-2 on the day, Bentley said Nelson took the promotion well.
“She’s really stepped up,” the coach said.
Ali Dean, who played No. 2 one match and No. 3 in the other, went 2-0 on the day. Lakyn Ludwick went 1-0, while Baili Conners went 1-1 in singles matches.
In doubles, Sierra McGinnis and McKaul Ori went 1-1, as did Jesslyn Valle and Lexi Brandon. Sophie Luetkens and Carlee Johnson went 2-0. One of those wins was a forfeit.
Friday’s matches, which were moved up a day because of unfavorable weather forecasted for Saturday, were the last home contests for the Bulldogs this season.
Butte High is back in action next Thursday when they hit the road to play Missoula Big Sky.
Butte High 4, Helena High 4
Kody Lane (Butte) def. Hans Harns 6-0, 6-2; Nick Thompson (Helena) def. Tyler Reilly 6-2, 6-1; Layne Janicek (Helena) def. Luke Wilde 6-4, 6-4; Jack Williams (Helena) def. Dennis Powers 6-3, 6-7 (5), (10-8)
Ethan Gylerzin/Anthony Starke (Helena) def. Tucker Reilly/Griff Warner 6-0. 6-0; David Starcevich /Tanner Tregidga (Butte) def. Ian Schulz/Drew Carpenter 6-2, 6-2; Blake Casagranda/Levin Mullaney (Butte) def. Braden Scherting/Clay Bouchee 6-0, 6-2; Dustin LaMiaux/Seth Jaksha (Butte) won by forfeit.
Butte 4 Helena Capital 4
Kody Lane (Butte) def. Derek Lund 6-4, 6-7 (9-11), (10-0); Luke Carlson (Captial) def. Tyler Reilly 6-3, 6-1; Luke Wilde (Butte) def. Paul Cronin 6-4, 7-6 (7-5); Dennis Powers (Butte) def. Stephen Murray 7-5, 6-3.
Hunter Beto/Tyler Markle (Capital) def. Tucker Reilly/Griff Warner 6-3, 6-3; Kenley Crisp/Sean Rillahan (Capital) def. David Starcevich/Tanner Tregidga 6-1, 6-3; Joey Paulsonmorgan/Teagan Jendro (Capital) def. Levin Mullaney/Blake Casagranda 6-0, 6-1; Dustin LaMiaux/Seth Jaksha (Butte) def. Luke Yahnah/Michael Dobbins 6-4, 6-2
Butte High 5, Helena Capital 3
Jeana Ratcliff (Capital) def. Molly Nelson 6-3, 6-0; Ali Dean (Butte) def. Lexie Reddig 6-0, 6-4; Lakyn Ludwick (Butte) won by forfeit; Baili Connors (Butte) def. Alison Aschim 6-0, 6-0.
Meg Giddings/Aran Hines (Capital) def. Kaitlyn Vetter/Aidan Amtmann 6-0, 6-2; Marissa McPaerson/Susie Polo (Capital) def. Sierra McGinnis/McKaul Ori 6-3, 1-6 (12-10); Jesslyn Valle/Lexi Brandon (Butte) def. Becca (last name not provide)/Rachel Christian 6-1, 6-3; Sophie Luetkens/Carlee Johnson (Butte) win by forfeit.
Helena High 5, Butte High 3
Ashley Battershell-Carson (Helena) def. Molly Nelson 6-3, 6-2; Madeline Scherting (Helena) def. Hallie Hawe 6-1, 6-1; Ali Dean (Butte) def. Katelynde Carey 6-2, 6-2; Jullianne Jones (Helena) def. Baili Connors 6-3, 6-0.
Abbie Caldwell/Sahara Peterson (Helena) def. Kaitlyn Vetter/Aidan Amtmann 6-4, 6-4; McKaul Ori/Sierra McGinnis (Butte) def. Dani Norling/Alicia Norling 6-2, 6-3; Shelby Pugh/Jenna Starkle (Helena) def. Lexi Brandon/Jesslyn Valle 6-1, 6-2; Carlee Johnson/Sophie Luetkens (Butte) def. Brooke Burkett/Madison Trevor 6-3, 7-5.