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Barlow boys win marathon battle against Rams

TENNIS - Gresham sneaks past Sandy in tiebreaker
by: David Ball, Barlow's Kevin Sayson makes a forehand return during his straight-set win in No. 1 singles Thursday against Central Catholic.

The Barlow boys tennis team showed that it is the team to beat in the Mount Hood Conference after discarding challenger Central Catholic 6-2 on Thursday, April 19.

'The last couple of years Central has been some of our toughest competition,' Bruins coach Andrew Pate said. 'You could see that today - there were close matches all over the place.'

In fact, five of the eight varsity bouts went to the full three sets. The longest battle came in No. 2 singles where Barlow senior David Strickland took more than three hours to beat Central's Robby Hicks 4-6, 7-6, 6-3.

Strickland turned away a pair of match points in the second set and overcame a 3-1 deficit early in the third. He bounced back to win the final five games of the match, ending play by reeling off four straight points against a tiring Hicks. Strickland's final shot was a forehand blast snuck under his opponent's racquet.

'David was able to dig deep when he was close to defeat,' Pate said. 'He showed a lot of determination, and he was tough in those clutch points.'

Barlow also got three-set wins from its No. 2 and 3 doubles teams.

• In other MHC boys action, Gresham earned a tight 5-4 win against Sandy on Friday in a match that went to the 'games won' tiebreaker where the Gophers held a 77-74 edge. Centennial surrendered only three games in singles play en route to a lopsided 7-1 win against Hood River on Thursday.

Look for extended tennis coverage in the Saturday, April 21, issue of The Outlook.