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Sandpoint tennis sweeps regional titles; 7 Bulldogs headed to state

by DYLAN GREENE
Sports Editor | May 15, 2021 8:59 PM

SANDPOINT — By the end of the 4A Region 1 championships on Saturday, Sandpoint tennis head coach Kent Anderson was covered in Silly String.

Why? Because the Bulldogs swept the boys and girls regional titles for the first time since 2016. That's worthy of some colored foam.

Entering the season, Anderson was optimistic about his squad's chances of completing a regional sweep, but watching it unfold on Saturday brought him a rush of pride.

"It feels really good to see them succeed," he said. "They really came together and it's about them. Good players make coaches look good and they just did a really good job."

Seven Bulldogs qualified for state — Neva Reseska, Olivia Petruso, Denali Terry, Josh Embree, Christian Story, Kailee McNamee and Tyler McNamee.

Petruso and Terry won the girls doubles regional title. In the championship match, the SHS duo jumped on Moscow's No. 1 doubles team early and cruised in the first set, 6-1.

But in the second set, Petruso and Terry fell behind 5-2 and a decisive third set seemed like it was on the horizon. However, they avoided that by winning five straight points to wrap up the match.

"They just didn't lose their momentum," Anderson said, "and so often you start dragging, 'OK, it's going to go to a third set,' but they didn't do that. They were communicating with each other, moving really well and staying upbeat, and I think that's a little disconcerting to the other team because they thought they had that second set."

Anderson said Petruso and Terry really stepped up their play at regionals.

"Even though they've been No. 1 all year, they've had a little bit of a roller coaster and they absolutely peaked in that championship match," he said.

The match every Sandpoint fan was eager to watch on Saturday was the boys doubles championship battle, which featured two SHS teams.

Josh Embree and Christian Story took care of Carter Johnson and Tyler Korn 6-0, 6-1 to capture the title.

Anderson said Embree and Story grabbed a stranglehold on the match and never let go.

"They were just dominant and it was so good to see," he said.

Anderson said Embree and Story have an opportunity to bring home some hardware at state.

"I don't think there's going to be anyone noticeably better than them," he said. "I think it's just a mental thing at this point, and so I think they've got a really good chance of going deep and a chance of winning the whole thing."

Johnson and Korn still had a chance to earn a berth to state if they could beat Lakeland's Brady Hanna and Brady Manko in the second place match, but they fell in straight sets. Entering regionals, Johnson and Korn had only lost one match all season.

Kailee McNamee and Tyler McNamee lost in the mixed doubles championship match, but soared back in the second place match with a 1-6, 6-1, 6-3 victory to lock up a state berth.

The brother and sister duo only started playing mixed doubles together a couple of weeks ago, and now they got a chance to do some damage at state.

"All of the sudden I looked at them and said, 'Wouldn't it be fun to have a family team? Would you guys be willing to play as a brother and sister?'" Anderson said, "and they said, 'Yeah we'll do that,' and they figured out how each other played pretty quickly."

Neva Reseska earned a spot in the girls singles regional title match. She fell 6-2, 6-1 to Lakeland's Malika Warnick, but bounced back with a 6-3, 6-1 win over teammate Maise Brazill in the second place match to punch her ticket to state.

Reseska is only a freshman, so her potential is limitless and Anderson has watched her grow every match this spring.

"Almost every match this year she was playing against a girl that is a USTA tournament player," he said, "and when you go against that type of player match in and match out, you're going to improve. She picked her game up and she's going to have a really good experience at state."

The Bulldogs head to Boise for the 4A state championships on Friday and Saturday.

4A Region 1 results

Sandpoint athletes in bold

GIRLS TEAM SCORES — 1, Sandpoint 48. 2, Moscow 32. 3, Lakeland 25

BOYS TEAM SCORES — 1, Sandpoint 44. 2, Lakeland 32. 3, Moscow 20.

GIRLS SINGLES

Championship (winner to state) — Malika Warnick, Lakeland, d. Neva Reseska, Sandpoint, 6-2, 6-1. Second place (winner to state) — Neva Reseska, Sandpoint, d. Maise Brazill, Sandpoint, 6-3, 6-1.

BOYS SINGLES

Championship (winner to state) — Marwan Warnick, Lakeland, d. Lynnsean Young, Moscow, 6-1, 6-2. Second place (winner to state) — Lynnsean Young, Moscow, d. Charlie Johnson, Sandpoint, 6-3, 7-5.

GIRLS DOUBLES

Championship (winner to state) — Olivia Petruso/Denali Terry, Sandpoint, d. Serena Strawn/Aneesha Shrestha, Moscow, 6-1, 7-5. Second place (winner to state) — Ella Fountain/Emilia Fountain, Moscow, d. Serena Strawn/Aneesha Shrestha, Moscow, 6-3, 6-2

BOYS DOUBLES

Championship (winner to state) — Josh Embree/Christian Story, Sandpoint, d. Carter Johnson/Tyler Korn, Sandpoint, 6-0, 6-1. Second place (winner to state) — Brady Hanna/Brady Manko, Lakeland, d. Carter Johnson/Tyler Korn, Sandpoint, 6-1, 6-3.

MIXED DOUBLES

Championship (winner to state) — Sammie Unger/Bryce Hansen, Moscow, d. Kailee McNamee/Tyler McNamee, Sandpoint, 6-7, 6-4, 6-3. Second place (winner to state) — Kailee McNamee/Tyler McNamee, Sandpoint, d. Ellen Haynes/Mark Sproull, Moscow, 1-6, 6-1, 6-3.

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(Photo by DYLAN GREENE)

Josh Embree elevates to hit a return during the boys doubles regional championship match on Saturday at Travers Park.

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(Photo by DYLAN GREENE)

Denali Terry hits a return during the girls doubles regional championship match on Saturday at Travers Park.

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(Photo by DYLAN GREENE)

Christian Story hits a volley at the net during the boys doubles regional championship match on Saturday at Travers Park.

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(Photo by DYLAN GREENE)

Olivia Petruso eyes a return shot during the girls doubles regional championship match on Saturday at Travers Park.

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(Photo by DYLAN GREENE)

Olivia Petruso returns a serve during the girls doubles regional championship match on Saturday at Travers Park.

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(Photo by DYLAN GREENE)

Denali Terry prepares to hit a return during the girls doubles regional championship match on Saturday at Travers Park.

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(Photo by DYLAN GREENE)

Josh Embree hits a return during the boys doubles regional championship match on Saturday at Travers Park.

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(Photo by DYLAN GREENE)

Christian Story returns a serve during the boys doubles regional championship match on Saturday at Travers Park.

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(Photo by DYLAN GREENE)

Adrian Doty prepares to hit a return during a girls singles regional consolation semifinal match against Maise Brazill on Saturday at Travers Park.

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(Photo by DYLAN GREENE)

Maise Brazill hits a return during a girls singles regional consolation semifinal match against Adrian Doty on Saturday at Travers Park.

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(Photo by DYLAN GREENE)

Charlie Johnson hits a backhand during a boys singles regional consolation semifinal match against Josh Jessen on Saturday at Travers Park.

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(Photo by DYLAN GREENE)

Carter Johnson hits a return during the boys doubles regional championship match on Saturday at Travers Park.

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(Photo by DYLAN GREENE)

Tyler Korn hits a forehand during the boys doubles regional championship match on Saturday at Travers Park.

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(Photo by DYLAN GREENE)

Tyler Korn hits a return during the boys doubles regional championship match on Saturday at Travers Park.

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(Photo by DYLAN GREENE)

Kailee McNamee gets down low to hit a return during the mixed doubles regional championship match on Saturday at Travers Park.

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(Photo by DYLAN GREENE)

Kailee McNamee hits a return during the mixed doubles regional championship match on Saturday at Travers Park.

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(Photo by DYLAN GREENE)

Tyler McNamee returns a serve during the mixed doubles regional championship match on Saturday at Travers Park.

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(Photo by DYLAN GREENE)

Neva Reseska hits a backhand during the girls singles regional championship match on Saturday at Travers Park.

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(Photo by DYLAN GREENE)

Neva Reseska hits a return during the girls singles regional championship match on Saturday at Travers Park.

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(Photo by DYLAN GREENE)

The boys team poses for photos with the regional trophy on Saturday.

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(Photo by DYLAN GREENE)

The girls team poses for photos with the regional trophy on Saturday.

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(Photo by DYLAN GREENE)

Head coach Kent Anderson poses for a photo with regional champion Josh Embree.

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(Photo by DYLAN GREENE)

Head coach Kent Anderson poses for a photo with state qualifier Neva Reseska.

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(Photo by DYLAN GREENE)

Kent Anderson poses for a photo with regional champions Denali Terry and Olivia Petruso.

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(Photo by DYLAN GREENE)

Head coach Kent Anderson poses for a photo with state qualifiers Tyler McNamee and Kailee McNamee.

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(Photo by DYLAN GREENE)

Players sprayed Silly String all over head coach Kent Anderson following Saturday's 4A Region 1 championships.