Southmoore junior Jordan Henry entered the Class 6A state tennis tournament Friday with a huge dose of confidence after the biggest victory of her career in Monday’s regional finals at Bixby.
Henry knocked off three-time defending state champion Madison Westby of Tulsa Kelley, a player who is heading to the University of Southern California on a tennis scholarship. It was the first time Westby had been beaten in high school play.
“I put girls on pedestals all the time,” Henry said of facing Westby for the first time on Monday. “It’s nice to know I am up there with them.”
Some said Henry played the game of her life in beating Westby 7-5, 6-2.
“I hope that is not the game of my life. So far I think that was the best tennis match I’ve played,” Henry said.
“I hope to continue to get better. I just played solid. She made a lot more mistakes than I did. But it was windy and it was hot so conditions weren’t exactly perfect.”
The regional title helped earn Henry the No. 1 seed in the state tournament, putting her on the opposite side of the bracket from Westby and Owasso’s Lauren Pickens, the two-time state runner-up and the only player to defeat Henry this season.
“It was a great thing getting the one seed, putting me on the opposite side,” Henry said. “Instead of having to take down two girls who are really, really good, you only have to worry about getting there and playing one of them.”
Westby and Pickens will meet in the semifinals Saturday while Jordan will play Sarah Cameron of Jenks.
Henry, 26-1 this season, cruised to victories in her opening round and quarterfinal matches Friday at the Oklahoma City Tennis Center, defeating Julia Baird of Edmond Santa Fe 6-0, 6-0 and Shaylee Smith of Broken Arrow 6-0, 6-3.
Southmoore tennis coach Kelly Johnson said Henry has made huge strides the past two seasons.
“She has grown mentally as far as changing up her game if something is not working out,” Johnson said. “That is a huge difference from her freshman year to her junior year.”
Johnson said Henry’s win over Westby proved to her that she can beat anyone. But it also adds pressure on Jordan to win in the state tournament in front of family and friends, she said.
Can Jordan slay the giant again if she gets the chance in Saturday’s finals?
“I think I can. I did it before,” Jordan said. “I’m playing really well right now. It will be more pressure this time. People are going to be looking for a win.”