Kennebunk’s Jaxson Redmond, right, taps rackets with doubles partner Matt Durcan after winning their match to clinch a 3-2 victory over Thornton Academy in the Class A South boys’ tennis final Wednesday in Portland. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Trailing in the third set of what seemed likely to be the decisive match of the Class A South boys’ tennis final, Kennebunk junior Matt Durcan and sophomore Jaxson Redmond faced a crossroads.

Should they back off in their doubles match and play in a more conservative fashion? Or should they continue to press the issue and try to cut down on the mistakes that led them astray after winning the opening set?

Durcan and Redmond trusted in each other and their skills, and reeled off four straight games Wednesday afternoon for a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 victory that sent second-seeded Kennebunk past No. 1 Thornton Academy at Apex Racket and Fitness in Portland.

Kennebunk’s Matt Durcan serves during the decisive doubles match against Thornton Academy in the Class A South final. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

The overall match score was 3-2. A month ago, Thornton defeated Kennebunk by that same score.

“They played mentally tough,” Kennebunk Coach Paul Gaylord said of his first doubles team. “They kept taking their shots instead of backing off, and they kept poaching, which was incredibly effective. That sort of changed the tide, because we became the aggressors. In a tight match, that can be the difference.”

Kennebunk (14-1) will face North champion Camden Hills (14-1) at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at South Portland High in a rematch of last year’s state final, won by the Rams.

Advertisement

In another South final, top-seeded Yarmouth earned a chance to defend its Class B title with a 3-2 victory over No. 3 Greely. The Clippers will face North champion Mt. Desert Island at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, also in South Portland.

Originally scheduled for Lewiston High, the state finals were moved to South Portland to ensure a safe playing surface.

Yarmouth (15-0) faced a Greely team whose only two regular-season losses came against the Clippers, both by 3-2. Once again, Yarmouth swept doubles and earned a victory at No. 2 singles, where junior Quinn Federle defeated Greely senior Peter Rinehart, 6-3, 6-2.

“It was really closer than the score suggests,” said Federle, who needed three sets to beat Rinehart in their previous meeting. “A lot of deuces, a lot of games I was down and had to fight back.”

Federle usually wears eyeglasses when he plays, but he misplaced his only pair earlier this week and had to do without.

“It’s not a huge deal,” he said. “I didn’t play with them last year.”

Advertisement

Yarmouth senior Sutter Augur and junior Ethan Lombard won 6-0, 6-2 at first doubles. Sophomore Wiley Schumacher and freshman Andre Violette won 6-3, 6-2 at second doubles.

Those points were enough to overcome Greely victories at No. 1 and No. 3 singles. Senior Leif Boddie, the state singles runner-up, won 6-2, 6-0 against Will Best, and sophomore Charles Segal, earned a 6-1, 7-5 victory over Asher Lockwood.

“It’s always tough to beat an excellent team three times, so we knew it was going to be a similar situation,” Yarmouth Coach Bill Shardlow said. “We don’t take anything for granted. We know we have to show up and play hard.”

In the Class A match, Kennebunk’s Will Smith won quickly at No. 2 singles, 6-0, 6-0, and Thornton’s Danny Menard and Pablo Perez evened the match with a 6-3, 6-4 victory at second doubles. Kennebunk sophomore George Cutone, the two-time singles state champion, gave the Rams a 2-1 lead by winning 6-0, 6-2 at No. 1 singles against Arthur Closs Reston.

Jaxson Redmond of Kennebunk returns a serve during the No. 1 doubles match in the Class A South final. Redmond and partner Matt Durcan won, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, sending the Rams to the Class A state championship match Saturday against Camden Hills. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

That left the outcome with No. 3 singles and first doubles, both in third sets on adjacent courts. Redmond and Durcan wrapped up their clincher moments before Thornton sophomore Pedro Hernandez pulled out a 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 victory over Kennebunk senior Noah Williams.

“It was a lot of pressure when we lost the second set because we didn’t know how our third singles was going to do,” Redmond said. “We really had to dig deep. Every point mattered. And it worked out.”

In their regular-season meeting, the Rams were missing two players from their starting lineup. On Wednesday, the Golden Trojans were missing a pair, both international students who had returned to China and Brazil.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the guys,” Thornton Coach Andy Carlson said. “They made sure Kennebunk earned everything they got. We didn’t give them anything.”


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.