There is no substitution for experience.
Phoenix Brophy’s Hudson Blake relied on his past to get him through some tough early moments of the Division I state tennis final Saturday afternoon.
Blake, facing Scottsdale Chaparral’s James Ponwith, found himself down 4-1 in the first set. It’s not the first time he’s been down this season.
At a tournament in Fresno, Calif., earlier this season, Blake was down 4-1 in the first set and rallied to victory.
He did the same Saturday and Thunderbird Paseo Tennis Center in Glendale. Blake rallied to best Ponwith, 6-4, 6-4 to capture his first state title.
“It was a big time comeback,” Blake said. “I had some big serves and started to turn it around.”
For the senior it was his first state championship. He had been a runner-up twice in doubles as a sophomore and a junior.
“I’ve got two red ribbons. It’s nice to get a blue one,” Blake said.
Blake, who will play for Texas Christian University next year as a college freshman, decided on playing singles this season because of the improvement he made playing without a partner.
He becomes the first Brophy tennis player to win an individual title since Andrew Spiegel did it in 1997.
For Ponwith it was a frustrating match and he had problems not only with Blake, but with the official of the match. He was hoping to beat Blake for the first time this season. The two had met twice previously and Blake won those matches as well.
In boys doubles, Brophy collected another title when David Akin and Michael Cowan survived a three set match with Tucson Salpointe’s Andrew Dunn and Tyler Linscott. The Broncos won, 4-6, 6-1, 7-6.
The Notre Dame doubles team of Luke Carstens and Adrian Cordova survived a three-set match to win their state title. They beat Ryan Knox and Cody Petford and Ironwood Ridge.