Doubles helps Buffs to third at WBI
Consistency helped Madras' top doubles team of Mervyn Garcia and Sklyer Sensibaugh win their division of the White Buffalo Invitational.
The senior duo won five of their six matches in Saturday's seven-team tourney in the warmest playing conditions so far this season. Last year's tournament was rained out.
Vale won the team title by scoring 20 points, based on number of matches won. Each team put a first and second singles plus a first and second doubles team on the court.
Central (of Independence) was second at 19 points with Madras third with 12 points. Sisters and Estacada scored nine each with Sandy at eight and Cascade at seven.
Madras' points included the second doubles team of Brian Anderson and Trevor Schongalla winning four matches to finish a close third in their division. Top singles player Jon Hutchins and second singles player Jason Garcia also scored points to help the Buffs take third.
All of the matches were one set with a tiebreaker necessary if each side won six games.
Mervyn Garcia and Sensibaugh had two close matches, played right after each other. The Buffs defeated the Vale team of Matt Robertson and Russ Seals 7-5. After a five-minute break, they were back on the court warming up against Central's Jeff Grattreak and Allen Soto. The Central team won 6-4.
Vale went on to beat Central, giving Vale and Madras five wins each. However, the Buff duo won the head-to-head match to claim the first doubles title.
Garcia and Sensibaugh dominated their other matches. They defeated Estacada and Sandy 6-0, Cascade 6-1 and Sisters 6-2.
Garcia credited a more conservative approach for their consistent play this season. The team was sixth in the Intermountain Conference district tourney last season.
"We've worked on consistently trying to get the ball in play," Garcia said. "We're not just trying to go for the win all the time. We're working on placement which sometimes is the best option."
Garcia added the team which has played together for three years is also benefiting from all of its court experience.
Part of that is scouting opponents during warmups.
"We try to see what the other team can do and what their weaknesses might be," Garcia said. "Maybe one guy has a weaker backhand than the other. That's what we try to look for."
Madras' other doubles team of Anderson and Schongalla went 4-2 with a loss against the champion Estacada team in a tiebreaker.
"That division was really close in looking at games each team won," Madras coach Margaret Kincaid said. Both Estacada and Central won five matches, but Estacada won 36 games compared to 34 by Central with Madras winning 33 games in taking four matches.
The Buff duo defeated Sandy 6-1, Cascade 6-0, plus both Vale and Sisters 6-3. Second-place Central defeated the first-year Madras team 6-3.
"Our top two doubles teams practice against each other," Kincaid said. "That's really helped them this season."
The Buffs' top singles player, Hutchins, opened his tourney with a tiebreaker loss against Cascade's Josh Thompson. Hutchins went on to win one match. Jason Garcia won two matches at second singles.
"Every match we won helped," Kincaid said. "It was an evenly-matched tourney. Those singles wins helped us finish third."