Knox wins 1st ever NSC tennis title
BREMEN — Knox’s boys tennis team saved the best for last.
With the Redskins scheduled to leave the Northern State Conference as early as next year, the squad entered Saturday’s final round of NSC Tournament matches hoping to capture a program-first conference title. Knox won championships in two of three singles finals appearances, and the Redskins clinched the NSC title outright over second-place Triton Saturday at DeSantis Courts in Bremen.
“This is the first time Knox has ever won this, ever,” said Knox boys tennis coach Mark Krom. “With the changes going on in the conference we really wanted this bad because this is going to be our last opportunity potentially to do this.”
With the Trojans nipping at the Redskins’ heels, Saturday’s finals hinged on the 1 and 2 singles championships. Knox’s Davey Johnston beat out Triton’s Dean Howdeshell 6-3, 6-3 at 1 singles and Jordan Anderson put away Trojans No. 2 Jared Fisher 6-0, 6-2 to help the Redskins hold off Triton for its first-ever NSC boys tennis championship Saturday.
Knox also advanced to the championship round at 3 singles, where Hunter Gilbert fell in a straight-set tiebreaker decision to Bremen’s Krent Hueni, 6-3, 7-6(4).
It was quite a turnaround for a team that finished up last year’s conference tilt in fourth place overall.
“We had some young guys at singles (last year) that we knew were going to be good,” said Krom. “We just needed to get another year under our belts and get a little more experience at those singles positions, and we also got better at doubles enough to get done what we needed to get done.”
A tournament championship for Triton Saturday would have meant a tie between Knox and the Trojans after their 5-1 round robin finish behind the conference-unbeaten Redskins. Unfortunately for Triton, however, it wasn’t in the cards, although there was a moment as the final tallies were being calculated when it seemed the Trojans had beaten out Knox for the tournament title and thus would share a piece of the conference crown.
“Our guys played very well and gave them everything that they needed to,” said Triton head coach Allen Peckham. “We played hard and got us in position to do it, but you know how it comes down to just a big point here or there to make a difference, and tonight we just fell short by that one point.”
The Trojans advanced to championships on the 1 and 2 singles courts, where the team lost in pivotal head-to-head matches with Knox, as well as on both doubles courts, where the team claimed a pair of individual championships Saturday. Lucas Shafer and Darrin Harrell beat John Glenn’s Drew McDonald and Evan Rhodes 7-5, 6-0 for the 1 doubles title, and Jake Oldham and Austin Sellers trumped Jimtown’s Isaac Pope and Hunter Price, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 for all-conference honors at 2 doubles.
“Our doubles teams have been strong, and they’ve worked each other in practice. They really help each other out. They battle real hard in practice, and they push each other,” said Peckham.
“Our doubles did well. We did what we could. We did our best.”
Host Bremen earned its lone title at 3 singles, meanwhile, after a finish near the top of the NSC in last year’s tight standings. Hueni handed Gilbert a 7-4 tiebreaker defeat in the second set to put him away in two, 6-3, 7-6 (4) for the Lions’ lone title on their home courts as Bremen finished up in a tie with Jimtown for third overall in the conference.
“All three of our singles guys are very, very even, and we knew whoever ended up playing 3 singles for us would have a very good year,” said Bremen head coach Andrew Rohde. “(Krent) really progressed throughout the year, so I’m very proud of him. He did a great job.”
Tommy Foster finished fourth at 1 singles, meanwhile, while Tyler LaFlash and Austin Ingle were third at 1 doubles. The Lions will host a five-team sectional field this week that includes Plymouth, Triton, LaVille and John Glenn.
• NORTHERN STATE
At DeSantis Courts
Calvin Kretchmer (Glenn) beat Levi Hostetler (New Prairie) 8-3
Calvin Kretchmer (Glenn) beat Pierce Frick (LaVille) 8-2
Davey Johnston (Knox) beat Tommy Foster (Bremen) 6-3, 6-1
Dean Howdeshell (Triton) beat Mikey Pawlak (Jimtown) 6-1, 6-0
Mikey Pawlak (Jimtown) beat Tommy Foster (Bremen) 6-1, 6-2
Championship: Davey Johnston (Knox) beat Dean Howdeshell (Triton) 6-3, 6-3
Hunter Jaworski (Glenn) beat Matt Dickson (LaVille) 8-0
Jordan Anderson (Knox) beat Bryce DeVine (Bremen) 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (2)
Jared Fisher (Triton) beat Jacob Gongwer (Jimtown) 6-4, 4-6, 6-2
Jacob Gongwer (Jimtown) beat Noah Miller (Bremen) 6-2, 6-1
Championship: Jordan Anderson (Knox) beat Jared Fisher (Triton) 6-0, 6-2
Alec Runyan (Glenn) beat Adam Baker (LaVille) 8-0
Alec Runyan (Glenn) beat Alex Eib (Triton) 8-5
Krent Hueni (Bremen) beat Brock Johnson (Jimtown) 6-0, 6-0
Hunter Gilbert (Knox) beat Alex Suppinger (New Prairie) 6-3, 6-3
Alex Suppinger (New Prairie) beat Brock Johnson (Jimtown) 6-2, 1-6, 6-3
Championship: Krent Hueni (Bremen) beat Hunter Gilbert (Knox) 6-3, 7-6 (4)
Ben Janowski-Adam DeShone (Jimtown) beat Ben Jones-Ian McSherry (New Prairie) 9-8 (5)
Lucas Shafer-Darrin Harrell (Triton) beat Tyler LaFlash-Austin Ingle (Bremen) 6-2, 6-2
Drew McDonald-Evan Rhodes (Glenn) beat Curtis Scherer-Scott Farus (Knox) 6-4, 6-3
Tyler LaFlash-Austin Ingle (Bremen) beat Curtis Scherer-Scott Farus (Knox) 6-4, 3-6, 6-4
Championship: Lucas Shafer-Darrin Harrell (Triton) beat Drew McDonald-Evan Rhodes (Glenn) 7-5, 6-0
Kevin Auman-Drew Sheffer (Glenn) beat Ryker Hand-Chandler Snyder (Bremen) 8-2
Jake Oldham-Austin Sellers (Triton) beat Daulton Materna-Christian Jimenez (Knox) 6-1, 6-2
Isaac Pope-Hunter Price (Jimtown) beat Kyle Lowman-Lucas Major (New Prairie) 6-1, 6-3
Daulton Materna-Christian Jimenez (Knox) beat Kyle Lowman-Lucas Major (New Prairie) 6-1, 6-3
Championship: Jake Oldham-Austin Sellers (Triton) beat Isaac Pope-Hunter Price (Jimtown) 6-2, 4-6, 6-2