There was no shout, no dropping to his knees with arms raised to the sky. In fact, the reaction of Corona del Sol’s Alex Lawson was more sheepish than celebratory on Monday afternoon.
Sure, the Aztecs junior was happy about beating Horizon’s Nicolas Montoya in the Division I boys singles state championship match, but he didn’t want to go overboard with his excitement.
“Obviously, I have a lot of respect for Nic and we’re pretty good friends,” Lawson said of Montoya. “We play doubles together in the USTA stuff every tournament, so I didn’t want to show him up.”
Lawson beat his training partner and doubles teammate by coming back from a dreadful first set, regaining his form in the second and then rolling through the third of a 3-6, 6-3, 6-0 win at Paseo Racquet Center in Glendale.
“I was just spraying them all over the place and I wasn’t making any first balls on the serve,” Lawson said. “I got a little bit of momentum in the second set and it just started rolling from there.”
For Lawson, it is the third straight year he’s won a state title. The previous two years, he teamed with Kyle Ogren to win the 5A-I state doubles crown. It’s also the second straight year that Montoya has had his heart broken in the state tournament. Montoya and teammate Adam Waltz lost in the 5A-II doubles finals last year to the Millennium’s Yates and Hunter Johnson.
“We always play in the finals of tournaments against each other, so it’s tough because he’s a good player, but I came into just like any other match,” Montoya said. “Once he starts not missing shots, he’s overpowering.
“Hopefully we can do this again next year, but it’ll have a better ending, hopefully.”
The Johnson brothers won their second straight doubles crown, beating Brophy’s team of Kyle Chalmers and Hudson Blake, 6-1, 7-5 in the Division I finals.
The Division I girls singles title match turned out to be one-sided, as Peoria Centennial’s Mariely Hassey took advantage of an error-filled match by Hamilton’s Lidia Csernak, winning 6-0, 6-1.
In the girls Division I doubles bracket, Mountain View’s Alex Marlowe and Demi Daniels got a double dose of vengeance. The Toros’ pair had lost one match this season, that coming on the first week of the season against Xavier. On Monday, Marlowe and Daniels beat two Xavier teams on their way to the state title.
In the semifinals, Marlowe and Daniels needed three sets to dispatch Xavier’s Taylor Young and Madison Majerle, winning 5-7, 6-3, 6-3.
The finals went slightly quicker, with the Mountain View team beating Xavier’s Kendar Mahoney and Kelsey Rose 6-4, 6-4.
“It’s the greatest to be able to finish on such a high note,” said Marlowe, a senior. “To have something that represents all the hard work that I put in for four years.”
Daniels reached the singles semifinals last year as a freshman, so she’ll have to decide if she wants to find a new partner to replace Marlowe, or venture back to the solo game.
“It’ll be different because I’ll miss her,” said Daniels. “We knew we wanted to play together and we clicked from the beginning.
“Hopefully I can still do good next year and make it without her.”
In the boys Division II singles, Campo Verde’s Dominic Patrick made a bit of history for his school. The Coyotes’ junior put on a shot-making display against the powerful Carlos Bermudez from Tucson Palo Verde.
Patrick’s hustle and creativity were just enough to overcome Bermudez’ power from the baseline, as he won 7-5, 6-3 to become the first state champion in school history.
“It’s awesome,” Patrick said. “We have a lot of good athletes at our school and we’re going to do good in the future, but we don’t have seniors. We’re growing, so it’s nice to come out and show them what we’ve got.”
Patrick was able to frustrate Bermudez, who was the 4A-II singles champion last year, by keeping points alive and forcing errors by the left-handed Bermudez. Once Patrick took control of the match late in the first set, he never let Bermudez get back in a groove.
“You just have to get a lot of balls back against him, because he’s going to control the court no matter what,” said Patrick, a junior. “Any opportunity against Carlos, you have to take it.”