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KINGSLAND— It took a few rain dates to accomplish but the Adams Central Jets have repeated as sectional tennis champs with a win over the Braves, 4-1.
The Jets downed Bellmont for the second year in a row in the finals Monday evening at Norwell to earn just their third sectional title in school history after breaking a long spell last season and their first in 1997.
"Our guys are really playing their best tennis right now," explained AC coach Michael Hower.
Bellmont also has three titles in their history with the most recent coming in 2006 but have developed a new-found meaning for the term "cross-town rivals" as AC has become coach Joe Selking and the Braves' Achilles heel in recent years.
"Adams Central is a very well-coached team," praised Selking. "I think our teams are similar with very respectful young men who are athletic and work hard."
The Jets defeated Bellmont 3-2 earlier this season and three of the matches went to a deciding third set. AC was also a winner against every other sectional opponent in the regular season.
"AC clearly had the best team in the sectional this year and we knew it was going to be a tough match against their senior leadership," noted Selking.
The only point won by the Braves occurred at one singles when Evan Selking continued his stellar play with a tight win over AC's Jacob Weil in a thrilling two-set affair 7-6 (7-3), 6-2.
"Evan continues to improve every time I watch him play," praised Hower. "Jacob and Evan played a very sharp match with long, impressive points."
Selking improved to 18-4 on the year with the victory over Weil, which did not come easy in the first set. The Jets' ace held a 4-1 lead over Selking in the opening set but Selking came back forcing a tie-break.
"Evan and Jacob both played an awesome tiebreaker that had some great points," noted coach Selking.
The match at number two singles was no less thrilling as AC's Eric Ripley pulled out a 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 win over senior Robbie Ehlerding for the Jets' fourth point.
"Eric was a pivotal part of our win against Bellmont in the regular season and he played very consistent, steady tennis once again tonight," praised Hower.
"Robbie finished out his tennis career with a very good match," noted coach Selking. "His tennis has really improved the second half of the season."
Andy Oliver made his return to the starting line-up at three singles for the Jets after missing the first two sectional matches due to a sprained ankle.
"Ben Kahlert stepped up against Bluffton and Norwell for us and scored two key wins," praised Hower. "With Andy back tonight he played great tennis and we didn't miss a beat."
Oliver scored a 6-4, 6-1 victory against Bellmont's Austin O'Campo.
Conner Lengerich and Ben Kaehr continued their bout of excellence this season with a victory at one doubles 6-2, 6-3 over Ryan Okoniewski and Logan Baker. The AC duo improve to 19-0 on the year.
At two doubles, Nate Timmons and Jared Lehman earned a 6-4, 6-2 win over Bellmont's Conner Hess and Benjamin Fullenkamp sweeping the doubles points.