It’s a little confusing, but a marathon singles match ended up determining a doubles match, which, in turn, determined who won the 5A Division II boys state team tennis championship.
It was Chaparral who survived a hot Thursday afternoon at Paseo Tennis Center in Glendale as the Firebirds beat rival Desert Mountain, 5-4.
For Chaparral it is a repeat state title and for the second straight year it came on coach Greg Basila’s birthday.
Can he pencil in the date for next year’s championship?
“Every match was so close and so intense,” Basila said. “It’s been crazy all three times we’ve played them this year. I’m not surprised how it went. It could have gone either way every time we played.”
The two teams were tied 4-4 with only the No. 1 doubles match to be played. The problem for Desert Mountain was Ian Glessing was supposed to play in that match. But cramps would not allow Glessing to play and the Wolves were forced to forfeit the match and the state title.
But the Wolves were frustrated by the Firebirds all season. The two teams had met twice during the regular season with Chaparral winning both matches, 5-4. Not a lot of difference, but each time Desert Mountain came up just short.
At No. 4 singles, Glessing beat Chaparral’s Matt Pascal, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4 in a match that Basila estimated at nearly four hours.
Glessing wasn’t the only one cramping, Pascal was having problems too. But Pascal wasn’t in lineup for the doubles portion of the day. A big and possibly lucky break for the Firebirds.
Singles matches were key for the Firebirds with Nola Bauer, Jake Allan, Robby Breece and Johannes Klutmann all getting victories. Along with Glessing, Desert Mountain got a victory from Max Whiteman at No. 2 singles.
The 5A-I team championship took about as long was the 5A-II thanks to Kyle Chalmers of Brophy and Matt Dunn of Salpointe Catholic. In the No. 1 singles it was Chalmers getting a 3-6, 7-6, 7-5 win in a match that went well over three hours.
That victory evened the singles matches as 3-3 heading into the doubles. That’s where the Lancers took two of the three matches to win the state title.
“This is so big,” Dunn shouted after he and Andrew Dunn beat Chalmers and Hudson Blake, 10-0, at the No. 1 doubles.
Brophy had won the No. 3 doubles so it came down to Salpointe’s Brandon Gerber and Tyler Linscott beating the Broncos’ Garrett Nebeker and Connor McQueen, 10-7.
Salpointe coach John Condes wasn’t sure which match was more compelling, the one that clinched the title or the emphatic win his team got at No. 1 doubles with the shutout.
The finals came down to the top two schools in Arizona. Either Brophy, who had won the previous two state titles, or Salpointe has been crowned the 5A champion every year since 1996.