North Kitsap’s seniors are hoping to make the most of their final year of high school tennis, and the work they put in during the offseason is proof positive.
After a shortened season in the spring, the players spent their time off practicing, playing and competing with and against one another.
“If I went up there with my daughter on a Tuesday at 3 p.m., they were there,” North Kitsap head coach Jay DeVries said. “If I went up there on Saturday at 9 a.m., they were there.”
North Kitsap has plenty of experience returning — the top doubles teams of Drake Jones and Josh Smith would likely be two-time state participants if it weren’t for COVID-19. Carl Burchill, Ethan Gillespie, Ryan Williams and Garrett Rhoads give North Kitsap two more strong doubles teams, and they will be a difficult matchup for anyone.
“They’re dedicated, they love it,” DeVries said. “And they’re good athletes, which always helps.”
With their win over Bainbridge Thursday, the Vikings are off to a 2-0 start this season and will be one of the teams to beat in the Olympic League, along with the Spartans, Sequim and Port Angeles.
And those doubles teams carried them to victory. With the varsity matches winding down, the score was tied at three and all eyes turned to the No. 4 doubles match, where junior Blake Hoepfinger and freshman Dayshawn Harper clinched the victory for the Vikings with a 6-0, 6-2 win.
The pairings of Jones and Smith, Burchill and Gillespie, and Williams and Rhoads all easily won their matches 6-0, 6-1.
But Bainbridge made it a close match thanks to their stellar singles play. Brogan Rice won his match, 6-4, 6-2 over Andrew Myers, and Aidan McLennan defeated Indigo Gallagher Zapf 6-3, 6-0.
But the most entertaining match belonged to the teams’ respective No. 1 singles players — Bainbridge’s Jett Peters and North Kitsap’s Jason Hart.
Peters has had a heck of an introduction to high school tennis. In his first match Wednesday, the freshman took reigning Olympic League champion Garrett Little of Sequim to three sets in a long, physically and emotionally draining match.
“I don’t think I could have asked much more than him taking it three sets,” Bainbridge head coach Jennifer Shorr said.
But he rebounded nicely Thursday in a 95-minute match with Hart, who tied the second set 6-6, sending it to a tiebreaker. The two went back and forth the entire way, but Peters eventually prevailed, 7-4.
North Kitsap 4, Bainbridge 3
No. 1: Jett Peters (Bainbridge) def. Jason Hart 6-4, 7-6 (7-4).
No. 2: Brogan Rice (B) def. Andrew Myers 6-4, 6-2.
No. 3: Aidan McLennan (B) def. Indigo Gallagher Zapf 6-3, 6-0.
No. 1: Drake Jones/Josh Smith (NK) def. Samuel Sunshine/Matt Bernard 6-0, 6-1.
No. 2: Carl Burchill/Ethan Gillespie (NK) def. Rafferty Rosencrans/Reid Grant 6-0, 6-1.
No. 3: Ryan Williams/Garrett Rhoads (NK) def. Andrew Nelson/Ari Mielbrecht-Hansen 6-0, 6-1.