PEKIN -- It look longer than usual, but the annual Dragon Invitational girls tennis tournament went off without a hitch Saturday.
Only nine of usual 13 courts were available -- the four indoor courts at Parkside Athletics Racquet and Health Club were off-limits because of the COVID-19 pandemic -- and each of the eight teams brought a full lineup, which added a couple hours to the tournament's length.
Play began at 8:30 a.m. and concluded shortly after 6 p.m.
"There was an injury in a first-round match at No. 3 singles, and that girl missed the rest of the tournament," said Pekin coach and invitational director Josh Zinck. "Other than that, every match was played.
"Everybody knew the tournament would go longer than usual, so it wasn't a surprise. The coaches told me they thought the tournament went smoothly, which I really appreciated."
Mask and social distancing requirements were in place. Spectators were not allowed inside the fence at the John Moss Courts.
And there was another health measure. Pekin tennis players who were not in the invitational were tasked with sanitizing the score flip cards after each match.
Pekin finished fifth in the invitational's team standings, but played a major role in determining the champion.
The Dragons' No. 3 doubles duo of Maya Siltman and Bailey Newhouse beat Bloomington 7-5, 4-6, 12-10 in a marathon three-set match for fifth place.
The Pekin win gave Metamora the team championship with 30 points and left Bloomington in second place with 29 points.
"That doubles match was played at one of the 'acorn' courts in Mineral Springs Park, and there was quite a crowd there," Zinck said.
LaSalle-Peru (26), Morton (19), Pekin (15), Limestone and East Moline United Township (11) and East Peoria (4) rounded out the team standings.
Amara Howell had the best flight finish for Pekin, placing fourth at No. 1 singles despite a tough draw.
Players were slotted into their bracket by a random draw.
Howell lost a three-set match to Metamora's Nadia Frieden in the No. 1 singles semifinals. Frieden won 6-2, 4-6, 10-5.
Frieden was first-team All-Mid-Illini Conference selection last year. Howell made second team.
The Dragons' Reeti Patel and Malia Connor placed fifth at No. 2 and No. 3 singles, respectively. Pekin's Gabby Gonzalez and Sarah Broeker took sixth at No. 1 doubles.
"Everybody on our team played well," Zinck said.
In other Pekin girls tennis news:
THIS WEEK: Pekin was supposed to play Tuesday at Washington in a Mid-Illini Conference match, but the competition was rained out. The match will be made up Thursday.
The Dragons faced Macomb on Wednesday at the John Moss Courts on Senior Night.
Normally, Senior Night is held during a team's final home competition of the season. But this isn't a normal season.
"Our Senior Night was scheduled earlier just in case the season had to be stopped," Zinck said.
Steve Stein can be reached at (248) 224-2616 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.