State tennis: Foothills girls, I-Ridge boys capture titles

Pusch Ridge boys win crown, while Salpointe boys fall
2013-05-05T00:00:00Z State tennis: Foothills girls, I-Ridge boys capture titlesChuck Constantino Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
May 05, 2013 12:00 am  • 

GLENDALE - Exactly a week after Catalina Foothills sister duo Rachana and Kirtana Bhat edged Ironwood Ridge's Marissa Baca and Kelsey Brown for the Division II doubles state title, the two squads were in line to decide another crown.

Again, the Bhats came through with a win.

Foothills edged Ironwood Ridge 5-4 at Paseo Racquet Center on Saturday to win its fourth state team title in the last five years and 12th in the last 14 years.

"I finished my senior year the same way I finished my freshman year," Rachana Bhat said. "I won in individuals and we won in state."

It served as revenge against the Nighthawks, who beat the Falcons in last year's state final and in the final regular season match this year.

"Last year it was all tied at three going into doubles, too," Kirtana Bhat said after her 10-6 doubles win Saturday. "We kept telling each other we could do it."

Ironwood Ridge will still return home with a trophy.

The Nighthawks' boys team edged Scottsdale Notre Dame 5-4 to win a second straight state title and fourth in the last six years.

I-Ridge grabbed a quick 4-0 lead with singles wins from senior Adam Knox, sophomore Ryan Knox, junior Nick Thomson and senior Justin Nickles, but the Saints won the other two matches and were down 4-2 heading into doubles.

"Being up 4-2 is almost scary because the other team has nothing to lose and our guys tensed up a bit," I-Ridge coach Ryan Bais said.

The Saints won two of the three doubles matches to tie it up, but junior Alex Bose and Ryan Knox rallied from an early 7-4 deficit to a 10-7 win that secured the title.

Division III

After two straight years of coming up empty in the boys state finals, Pusch Ridge seniors Joel Johnson and Michael Houser helped the Lions beat Fountain Hills 5-2 to win it all.

"All three years have been a blast," Houser said. "But ending my senior year like this is amazing."

The Lions won four singles matches before Camron Vick and Davis Towne secured the final match with a 10-4 doubles win. Vick came back after being forced to retire from his singles match with a migraine.

"I really enjoyed watching them battle today," Lions coach David Towne said. "It's one of those magical moments of the season to see it all come together."

Division I

Salpointe Catholic lost the boys state championship to powerhouse Phoenix Brophy Prep 5-0.

Senior Andrew Dunn, the Lancers No. 3 singles player, lost 6-4, 6-4 to sophomore Zach Cihler. His only two losses this year came against the Broncos.

"It was hard-fought match. The score won't show it," Dunn said. "It sucks because, to me, these are the only two matches that matter. These are the big games."

Salpointe coach John Condes acknowledged the strides his team made Saturday and throughout the season.

"We improved over the last time we played them [Brophy]. They all had tough matches today," he said. "My guys played as hard as they could and we had chances. That's all you can ask for."

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