TAMPA — The members of the Hillsborough boys tennis team quickly left one court for another — the tennis court to the basketball court — after making quick work of Largo in their Class 3A first-round region match.
The Terriers shut out the Packers 7-0 at Tampa’s Riverfront Park on Tuesday, dropping just six games on the day. Within 90 minutes, the players were already on the basketball court playing 4-on-4.
Now only district rival King stands in the way of another trip to the Class 3A state team finals, where the Terriers placed second.
No. 1 Jack Murphy and No. 2 Brian Kowalski won their singles matched by 6-0, 6-1 scores, while No. 3 Will Clarke and No. 4 Greg Hasegawa didn’t drop a game in 6-0, 6-0 wins. No. 5 Akash Adhia won 6-1, 6-3.
The Terriers dropped a match in the regular season to King but beat the Lions in last week’s district tournament. While Murphy and Kowalski have been through the grind of the postseason, Hillsborough’s bottom part of its lineup hasn’t.
“Our No. 4, 5, 6, 7, they really haven’t been through this before,” Murphy said. “We try to make all of the guys comfortable and try to do the best we can to keep them up. Brian and I have a lot of junior experience, so we’ve been there as far as the pressure.
“We know about the whole ‘You win or you’re out.’ Will is a natural competitor and the rest of the guys just kind of fall into place. I think we’re used to it. So far we’ve been doing well. As districts we did well. We tried to amp it up, be a little vocal and really push our four and five through.”
Wiregrass gets coveted rematch
WESLEY CHAPEL — Last spring, Wiregrass Ranch felt the disappointment of losing in the first round of the postseason, narrowly falling to Daytona Beach Mainland 4-3.
Tuesday afternoon’s Class 3A region match against Daytona Seabreeze provided a glimpse of the Bulls at their best as they looked sharp and made easy work of Seabreeze 4-0. They will get the long-awaited rematch with Mainland, which defeated Lecanto 4-1. But this time around Wiregrass Ranch will have the advantage of playing at home,.
“Hopefully we can turn the tables on (Mainland) this time,” Wiregrass coach Dave Wilson said. “For routine purposes, I think it will be nice to be at home Thursday. Just that routine process of getting out of school and the difference between driving 21/2 hours or not helps.
“I didn’t know if we would come to play as well as we played today. I knew there was going to be some good tennis, but the guys did what they needed to do to win.”
Bulls sophomore sensation Courage Okungbowa continued his torrid pace toward states, as he easily defeated the Sandcrabs’ No. 1 Jonathan Merwin 6-0, 6-1.
Other Bulls followed suit with victories as No. 2 Spencer Ong overcame a comeback effort in the second set by Seabreeze’s Samuel Gilbert and won 6-0, 6-4. Wiregrass’ No. 4 Jaime Feliciano and defeated Eric Abramowitz 6-2, 6-1, and No. 5 Dan Helfrich cruised 6-0, 6-0 over Charles Nichols.
Andy Villamarzo, Times correspondent
King topples Dunedin
It was a rough day for three-time district champion Dunedin, which lost 6-1 to King in a Class 3A region match.
The Falcons' lone win came at No. 1 singles where Michael Beiler remained undefeated with a 7-5, 6-3 victory.
Bob Putnam, Times staff writer