BOYS STATE: Palo Verde, Coronado to meet again for title

RENO — For six straight years, Coronado’s boys tennis team has come to the state tournament as a regional champion, but never have the Cougars gone home with the first-place trophy.
One of the reasons why is Palo Verde, which beat Coronado 10-8 in last year’s championship match and also did it in 2006.
The two teams will face each other a third time for the Class 4A state championship at 9 a.m. Friday at the Caughlin Club.
Palo Verde beat Reno 13-5 in one semifinal Thursday morning, and Coronado beat Galena 16-2 in the other.
“It’s beginning to be something I want to change,” Coronado coach Luther Bohanan said of the title losses. “I’m hoping it will be another close match, and I hope we can break their stranglehold on the state championship.”
Neither Bohanan nor Palo Verde coach Zach Brandt would be surprised if this year’s match is as close as last year’s.
“It’s going to take a team effort,” said Brandt, whose team beat Coronado 13-5 early in the season, though neither team had its full lineup at the time. “Everyone from one through three in singles and doubles has to do their part.”
Said Bohanan: “I’m going to need all my kids to play well.”
Against Reno, three close first-round sets all went Palo Verde’s way as it took a 5-1 lead. The Panthers put the match away in the second round, taking a 10-2 advantage.
Fernando Sunago was 3-0 in singles for Palo Verde. Also for the Panthers, the starting doubles teams combined to go 7-0. Zack Surmacz and Bruno Sunago were 3-0, Zach Bellon and Jeremy Mann were 2-0, and Tanner Berkabile and Ozzy Abraham were 2-0.
“It was all about nerves in that first round,” Brandt said. “Once we got rid of the nerves, we were fine.”
Coronado dominated against Galena, leading 5-1 after one round and 10-2 after two.
“After that first round, I felt pretty good that my kids would do well,” Bohanan said.
Coronado’s Sam Cohen went 3-0 in singles, and the Cougars’ starting doubles teams also were 7-0. Jon Berberich and Christian Pate were 3-0, Bryden Baxter and Kevin Hashman were 2-0, and Xavier Smith and Kai Carl were 2-0.
Bohanan said Cohen’s performance is a key for his team.
“Galena had some good singles players, and he was able to get through them where my other kids lost to their No. 1,” Bohanan said. “He stayed pretty focused throughout three sets and played well.”