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Granite Bay tops Rio Americano for section tennis title

By: Bill Poindexter/Roseville Press Tribune Sports Editor
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From day one, Granite Bay High School tennis coach Rory Wood told his team to think about winning the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II team tennis championship.

And, he urged his Grizzlies to visualize Rio Americano players on the other side of the net, for the Raiders likely would be their opponent in the final.

Wood was correct, and the preparation paid off Friday when host Granite Bay beat Rio Americano 6-3 for its second section banner. Granite Bay was the section runner-up all three years between its titles.

“I’m very proud of the boys for getting us our second section title,” Wood said Monday. “The key was, we’ve really been preparing for three, four months for Rio Americano. During practice, I told them to imagine a young man from Rio Americano on the other side of the court, and take it seriously.”

Granite Bay, which rolled through the Sierra Foothill League unscathed at 10-0, is blessed with depth, and Wood said about 50 percent of the players compete year-round. He described the Grizzlies as hard working and disciplined.

Granite Bay’s No. 1 singles player, Brad Wong, lost to Wyatt Brown of Rio 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-3) in the match Wood said “everybody had their eyes on.” Their marathon ended just before the conclusion of the third and final doubles match.

Wood said Wong and Brown went back and forth and matched big serves and big hits. Wong led 5-2 in the third set before Brown came back to win, but Granite Bay managed to split six singles matches while sweeping doubles.

No. 2 Jake Keester won 6-4, 6-3 for the Grizzlies, No. 4 Matt Thompson won 7-5, 6-1, and No. 6 Zach Low, a freshman, won 6-0, 6-0.

In doubles, No. 1 Wade Graves and Casey McConnen came back to win 5-7, 6-2, 7-5, No. 2 Andrew Bone and Justin Shiiba won 6-2, 6-3, and No. 3 Chinar Sheth and Brandt Misik won 6-3, 6-3.