"It doesn't hurt as bad when you know you ran into somebody that much better than you."
That was the sentiment of Bluffton tennis coach Bob Brown after the Bobcats were eliminated, 6-1, Friday in the second round of the Class 4-A playoffs by Lexington.
"They were just better than us, one through five," Brown said. "And they were really strong at No. 1 with their No. 6-in-the-state kid."
The Wildcats swept the singles matches. Only the Bobcats' No. 2 doubles team of Diego Garcia and Matthew Bornstein could pull out a victory.
The Wildcats' No. 1 Brown mentioned, Logan Adkins, made relatively quick work of Bluffton No. 1 Aaron Newland 6-3, 6-2. And at No. 2, Lexington's Thomas Bryan frustrated Richard Snyder 6-2, 6-1.
It was only in the Nos. 3 and 4 matches that the Bobcats had a shot at wins to force the No. 1 doubles to play and extend the match. But neither Davis Rosenblum nor Morgan Philoxene could pull out victories.
"You could tell they played a lot of good teams in their region," Brown said. "I'm really proud. I think we gave them all we had today."
Brown says that for the Bobcats to handle teams like Lexington in the future, they have to get better, and that means more tennis.
"We've got to play more tennis. We have to focus on a lot of tennis," Brown said. "We didn't play a lot of teams like this."
Brown said Newland is his only real full-time tennis player who plays tournaments outside of school.
"Tournaments make you tough," Brown said. "You see guys like this all weekend long, not just once or twice a year."
As much as Brown knows the solution, though, he can't force his players to play more.
"They have to decide it in their hearts," Brown said. "They have to want to do it."
Singles: No. 1 Logan Adkins (L) def. Aaron Newland 6-3, 6-2; No. 2 Thomas Bryan (L) def. Richard Snyder 6-2, 6-1; No. 3 Grayson Hill (L) def. Davis Rosenblum 6-4, 6-4; No. 4 Will Horton (L) def. Morgan Philoxene 6-4, 7-5; No. 5 Nikil Sairam (L) def. Dakota Story 6-1, 6-1
Doubles: No. 2 Diego Garcia/Matthew Bornstein (B) def. Byron Byars/Ayden Phillips 6-2, 6-0