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OSSIAN—Adams Central had a shot at claiming the IHSAA tennis sectional championship Saturday at Norwell after blanking county rival South Adams 5-0 in the semi-finals in the morning, but fell 4-1 to the host Knights in the afternoon title match.
Norwell, which had defeated Bellmont recently by a 3-2 count in a dual meet, repeated that same score with wins coming in the same three events again on Saturday in the other semi-final round to make sure the defending sectional champs would not repeat.
The strength of the Norwell team comes in its doubles play with their number one and two teams having lost just one match all season long. In the finals against Adams Central, Kyle Fillman and Tanner Mathews ousted Derek Roe and Keaton Fiechter by a 6-1, 6-2 count while Tanner Bowen and Brandon Taylor downed Jon Weil and Isaac Luginbill via a 6-2, 6-1 score.
Norwell also captured two of the three singles matches although the number three singles battle was a marathon event as L. J. Reeve had to rally after losing to AC's Jacob Weil 4-6 in the first set. Reeve survived a 7-6 second set match via an 8-6 tiebreaker and in the pivotal third match, Reeve downed Weil by a 6-2 tally. At number one singles, Reid Imel posted a 7-5, 6-3 decision over Nathan Barger, stopping Barger from advancing on in the individual team tournament.
The lone Adams Central mark came at number two singles where Conner Lengerich recorded a three-set 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 victory over Mitchell Wilson.
In its match against Bellmont recently, Norwell won at number one singles and both doubles matches and did so again on Saturday.
Both Bellmont triumphs came in three-set endeavors with Phillip Bauman taking a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 match from Wilson and Evan Selking handed Reeve a 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 defeat at number three singles.
In singles play at number one, Imel struggled to earn a 7-6 (7-2) win over Bellmont's Payton Selking in the first set and then blanked the BHS senior 6-0 in the last set. Fillman and Mathews took care of business at number one doubles with a 6-2, 6-2 tally over Garrett McCord and Matt Stidam while in the other escapade, Bowen and Taylor handled Kyle Smith and Dalton Mann 6-1, 6-0.
The Adams Central semi-final win against South Adams was 5-0 but featured two tie-breaker sets including a long 12-10 win in the second round by Lengerich which finally gave him a 7-5, 7-6 (12-10) decision over Mark Muselman. At number one doubles, Fiechter and Roe took out Scott Hoeppner and Derek Schwartz by a 7-6 (7-3), 6-1 score.
The other wins for the Jets found Barger topping SA's Alex Huber 6-2, 6-0 in a number one event, Jacob Weil took the third singles match from J. D. Tarr by an identical 6-2 score in both sets, and at number two doubles, Weil and Luginbill dropped Ian Frank and Jonathan Steffen 6-4 before recording a 6-0 whitewash in the second set.
Last Thursday, South Adams and Norwell had advanced from the first round with South Adams notching a 4-1 decision over Huntington North and Norwell pasting a 5-0 verdict on Bluffton. The sectional's completion was delayed due to rain and continued Saturday.
South Adams' Huber won 6-3, 6-1 over Aaron Gilmore and Muselman edged past Tommy Bolinger 6-4, 4-6 6-2 at number two. In doubles, Hoeppner and Schwartz tipped Nave Wyatt and Matt Sieburns 6-0, 6-3, and Frank and Steffen defeated Andrew Smith and Jacob Klingman of the Vikings, 6-3, 6-2.
The lone Huntington North point was a three-set win at number three singles as Cameron Buzzard nipped Tarr 4-6, 6-2, 7-5.
The title for Norwell advances them to the regional at Carroll High School Tuesday where they will play Carroll, a team that beat Leo 4-1, Northrop 5-0, and Snider 5-0 to win the Carroll sectional. In the other regional match, Bishop Dwenger and Canterbury will be the opponents. Dwenger blanked both North Side and Concordia 5-0 to win the Concordia sectional and Canterbury handled Homestead and Bishop Luers 5-0 for the title of the Homestead tournament.