There are no easy matches at the Class 6A state tennis tournament.
Even further, there are no easy games and few easy points when the state's best players get together at the end of each spring.
Despite those challenges, the West Linn boys tennis team stepped up and battled at state. Previously, the Lions went unbeaten in the Three Rivers League regular season and backed it up by winning the TRL district tournament.
The Lions, competing in the 6A state tournament — held Thursday, May 16, through Saturday, May 18, at the Babette Horenstein Tennis Center in Beaverton — doubled their point total from a year ago and ended up tying for sixth among 24 teams represented at the event.
Jesuit's boys won the team title — the Crusaders' fourth straight and 11th in the past 12 seasons — with 35 points, followed by Lincoln at 27, Lakeridge at 10.5, Sprague at 10, Lake Oswego at 8, West Linn and Wilson at 6, Central Catholic at 5.5, Westview and Summit at 4, McMinnville at 2.5, Barlow, David Douglas, Grants Pass, Newberg, Sheldon and South Medford at 2, Roseburg at 1 and Clackamas at .5.
On the way, the Lions saw one singles player (junior Logan Thompson) and one doubles team (junior Brian Wicklund and freshman Cade Fernando) reach the second round of their respective brackets, while seniors Grant Grainger and Riley Cook recovered from a first-round loss to win four straight matches and the doubles consolation title.
Thompson, after finishing second in the Three Rivers League, came back from a slow start to win his opener 0-6, 6-3, 6-4 over Westview's Matthew Kim, but in the second round, ran squarely into fourth-seeded Jack Ninteman of Lakeridge.
Thompson had beaten Ninteman in the TRL semifinals a week earlier, but this time Ninteman held the upper hand, posting a 6-1, 6-3 decision to end Thompson's tournament.
In doubles, Wicklund and Fernando kicked off their tournament with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Quentin Nigbur and Michael Hopkins of Newberg, then were eliminated in a 6-0, 6-1 loss to seventh-seeded Connor Barnett and Spencer Barnett of Jesuit in the second round.
Grainger and Riley, meanwhile, fell to fifth-seeded David Feldman and Ryan Abbott of Summit in round one, then won four straight times in consolation to finish fifth, knocking off eighth-seeded Gus Krauel and Parker Reno-Zinn of Central Catholic in the final.
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