Undoubtedly, Loyola earned the Region I-3A boys tennis championship Tuesday afternoon at Cockrell Park.
The Flyers already had wrapped up the team title when top-seeded singles player Charley Boyd and a pair of Flyers doubles teams — No. 1 Ellis Deupree and Gage Horn and No. 2 Taylor Wilmore and Matt Norton reached their finals. However, the Flyers were happy to play and play and a play a little more.
Playing on side-by-side courts, Boyd outlasted North DeSoto’s Kody Anderson, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, while Deupree and Horn needed a tiebreaker to defeat Wilmore and Norton, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (5) in the finals.
“I started being more aggressive,” Boyd said of what changed between the first and second sets. “Kody didn’t play as well in the second set as he did in the first set. I was more aggressive, and I was able to win points that were key.”
Deupree and Horn had to work overtime for their regional title.
Wilmore and Norton rallied from a deep first-set deficit and nearly did it again in the tiebreaker. Down 5-2, Wilmore and Norton got as close as 6-5 before Deupree and Horn closed out the match.
“It’s tougher than playing a random opponent,” Horn said. “We know these guys so well.”
The long match was as difficult for Loyola coach Mike Mawhinney as it was his players.
“It’s always tougher watching your own guys play each other, especially in the finals,” Mawhinney said. “You really can’t cheer for one over the other. You just cheer for good points. You almost hope they split sets, so it’s as evenly matched as possible.”
On the girls side, Jennings’ Katie Hollier made short work of her two matches Tuesday, stunning No. 1 seed Ryan Barham of Loyola and her teammate, No. 2 seed Colleen Barnett.
Hollier’s straight-set victory against Barnett clinched the team title for Jennings, which edged Notre Dame, 12-11.
“I was aware of that,” said Hollier, the co-No. 3 seed. “We wanted to beat Notre Dame, because they’re our rivals. This pushed us over the edge.”