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PREP TENNIS ROUNDUP

Sea Kings Battle Back From Brink of Upset

March 18, 2000|DAVE McKIBBEN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The third- and fourth-seeded teams--Cherry Creek, Colo., and Miami Dr. Michael Krop--didn't survive the first round of the National High School Tennis All-American Tournament. And for a few minutes, it looked like the second-seeded host--Corona del Mar--wouldn't survive the second round.

But the Sea Kings turned around two doubles sets and hung on to defeat Beverly Hills, 6-3, Friday at the Palisades Tennis Club. Corona del Mar (7-0) will meet Atherton Menlo School in today's semifinals at 1:30.

Beverly Hills entered the tournament with an 0-4 record but all four losses were by 10-8 scores, and every loss came against a Southern Section champion or runner-up. The Sea Kings, who defeated Woodberry Forest, Va., 7-2 in the first round and defeated Beverly Hills, 10-8, last week, appeared to be cruising to an easy victory over Beverly Hills, leading 4-1 with No. 1 singles player Brian Morton, tied with Brian Swatt, 7-7.

But Morton lost the last two games of the eight-game pro set and suddenly Beverly Hills (1-5) had the momentum entering the three doubles sets.

The Normans kept up the pressure as they were up a service break halfway through each doubles set.

"We had them there for about five minutes," Beverly Hills Coach Mike Margolin said. "But it changed so fast. It was almost like in basketball, whoever was going to have the ball last would win."

After trailing, 4-3, Corona del Mar's No. 1 doubles team of Cameron Ball and Brian Morton stole the ball and the set away from Swatt and Raymond Hekmat, winning four of the last five games, to give the Sea Kings their fifth point.

"Once we got over our nerves, we were all right," Ball said.

Morton and Ball were once one of the top junior doubles teams in Southern California, but they hadn't played together in two years.

"It takes some time to get used to playing with each other again," said Ball, a sophomore who was playing with a slightly pulled left calf muscle. "We've practiced together, but it's a little different when you're playing a match."

Ball, who beat Justin Gordon at No. 2 singles, 8-3, said a loss to Beverly Hills would have been embarrassing.

"After winning [Division I] last year, we're supposed to back it up," Ball said. "We're not quite as good as we were last year. We had more depth and more experience. We're young and we've got some transfers, but we're going to be good. We're just getting to know each other."

Notes

In the first round, Bakersfield Centennial upset third-seeded Cherry Creek, 5-4. Cherry Creek has won the Colorado state title 26 of the past 27 years. Fourth-seeded Dr. Michael Krop was defeated by Brentwood, 9-0. In other first-round matches, top-seeded Palos Verdes Peninsula defeated Connecticut's Chesire Academy, 9-0, Menlo Atherton beat Phoenix Brophy Prep, 5-4, North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake beat Fresno Clovis West, 6-3, and Beverly Hills downed New York Horace Mann, 8-1.

The 1 p.m. semifinals and 6 p.m. final will be held today at the Palisades Tennis Club.

*

In nonleague matches:

Bolsa Grande 18, Westminster 0--Mike Le and Julian Do swept, 6-0, 6-1, 6-0, for host Bolsa Grande (5-1).

Esperanza 11, Brea Olinda 7--Sophomores Marco DiAddezio (6-2, 6-0, 6-0) and Greg Buie (6-1, 6-2, 6-0) swept for visiting Esperanza (4-2).

Irvine 12, Huntington Beach 6)--Hadley Ogle swept in singles, 6-1, 6-0, 6-0, for visiting Irvine (4-3).

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