The Cheney High boys’ tennis team began their second round of Great Northern League play in the same way as the first — by sweeping East Valley, 7-0, April 28. The Blackhawks also competed in the Inland Empire Tournament, April 29-30, where Aaron Fillmore and Hayden Bennett finished third in the No. 3 doubles bracket.
Against East Valley, Ryan Axtell, No. 1 singles, defeated Josh Lee (6-1, 6-1) and Mason Van Stone, No. 2, shut out Bryce Pointer (6-0, 6-0). Brandon Foster, No. 3, won his match against Josh Fraser (6-1, 6-2) and No. 4 Shogo Starr defeated Matthew Pinyerd (6-1, 6-0).
In doubles, No. 1 Luke Huguenin and Adam Passey, defeated Eli Holicek and Garrett Crothers (6-4, 6-1). No. 2 Fillmore and Bennett (6-0, 6-1) and No. 3 Dirk Ray and Alex Chernega (6-1, 6-0) also picked up wins.
“From the top to bottom, our scores were better (this time) than the first time we played East Valley,” head coach Jesse Erickson said. “It shows how much we’ve improved in the last couple of weeks.”
In the Inland Empire Tournament, Fillmore and Bennett won their first four matches en route to the semifinals where they lost to Gonzaga Prep’s John Heath and Ben Schemmel (6-2, 6-3). They defeated Lewis and Clark’s Leo Haghighi and Dom Oliveri (6-4, 2-6, 10-6) in the third-place match.
“Lewis and Clark is one of the toughest teams out there,” Erickson said. “For Fillmore and Bennett to get third place in the tournament is a big accomplishment, especially since they’re sophomores. This gives them a lot of confidence, not just for the rest of this season but also for the future.”
Starr and Foster, teaming together for the first time, went 2-1 in their bracket, and Passey and Hugenin were 1-1 in theirs.
In mixed doubles, Chernega and Taylor Gould went 1-2 and Ray and Elizabeth Potter were 2-1 in tournament play. In singles action, both Axtell and Van Stone were 2-1 in their brackets.
Cheney (5-0 GNL, 11-0) continues to lead the league heading into their toughest week of competition. They played third-place Clarkston (3-2, 3-2), May 3, and will host second-place Pullman (3-1, 10-1), May 5. The Blackhawks defeated the Bantams (April 14) and the Greyhounds (April 19) with identical 4-3 scores.
“I expect the match with Clarkston to come down to the wire,” Erickson said.