At the end of two tennis journeys that won’t soon be forgotten, a pair of Duncan players will be going out the same way they spent most of their time with the Lady Demons – as some of the top competitors in the state.
Samantha Cassidy and Brittany Toone will complete their high school tennis careers against the best Oklahoma has to offer, playing at the the All-State competition Tuesday in Tulsa.
“It’s going to be a really neat experience for them, playing one last time together,” Duncan tennis coach Phil Barnes said. “They’ve both had excellent careers and were leaders for us on and off the court from the start.”
The pair will represent the West team, which will face off against other All-State players from eastern Oklahoma in a dual-play format. Each team includes eight players selected from around the state to play.
One look at the Duncan duo’s resumes makes it clear why they were chosen.
Cassidy, a two time state champion, three time regional champion and three time Oklahoma All-Star in No.1 doubles play, finished her career on a high note in 2013, winning her second straight title with teammates Sydney Henricks.
“It was interesting to see Samantha evolve as a player, from her first title her sophomore year to her more recent one this season,” Barnes said. “She stepped up into becoming a leader for this team and I enjoyed watching that transition.”
Toone also made the most of her senior season, becoming just the second Duncan No.1 singles girls player to reach the Class 5A State Finals en route to a runner up finish at state. Toone placed in the top four three times in No.1 singles at state, was a four-time Oklahoma All-Star and won regionals all four years at Duncan.
“She really was one of the best No.1 singles players Duncan has ever had,” Barnes said. “She was so steady and consistent, always where you expected her to be and had a great career.”
Those strong senior seasons helped Duncan reach new heights in 2013, helping the Lady Demons win their first girls tennis state title under Barnes’ leadership.
Each has also been nominated for the Jim Thorpe award, which honors the best player in Oklahoma for every sport.
Barnes said the pair’s accomplishment bodes well for the future of the program.
“Seeing these players make it to this level, it goes the younger players something to shoot for,” Barnes said. “It’s something everyone wants to become a part of.”