DIVISION I BOYS: Panthers’ Johnson breezes to crown

RENO — Palo Verde junior Trevor Johnson appeared to nonchalantly make his way through the Division I state boys singles championships Saturday at Caughlin Athletic Club.

Johnson says he was simply playing possum, though.

“I look like I’m not trying hard out there, but that’s the illusion of it,” Johnson said. “I try to make the guy think it’s nothing and try to be very composed to show the other guy he isn’t scaring me.

“But when I get to that point, I’ll become intense and strike.”

The strategy worked soundly for Johnson, who cruised to a state title, defeating Coronado’s Cassell King, 6-3, 6-0 in the semifinals and Rancho’s Rohan Gupte, 6-2, 6-2 in the final.

Though confident and sometimes cocky when he plays, Johnson is humble behind his competitive veil.

“Winning the individual title was nice, but I would trade it for a team title any day,” Johnson said. “If we won as a team, everybody would have been happy instead of just me.”

Centennial seniors Max Novak and Lucas Lee wasted little time in dispatching Reno’s Dominic Aramini and Kai Mars, 6-1, 6-2 in the boys doubles final to win the school’s first state tennis title of any kind.

“It was really a good experience to get a state title as a senior because this was our last chance,” Lee said. “We played some good doubles, and I thought it was a really cool experience to come up to Reno and play well.”

Lee and Novak defeated Liberty’s  Tristan Hoyle and Dylan Ihmels 6-2, 6-1 in the semifinals.

“We both played singles before this season, but us getting to play together this year has only made us better, and it’s been a great time and an honor to play with Max,” Lee said.

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