SUNRISE TENNIS: Coronado’s McDermott repeats as region champion

Ryland McDermott caught more than a few people by surprise when he won the Sunrise Region boys singles tournament last year.

With his cover blown this year, McDermott still found a way to repeat.

The Coronado junior defeated best friend and teammate Sam Grant, 6-3, 6-3 in the Sunrise boys singles final Monday at Darling Tennis Center.

“It was really tough, especially playing against my best friend,” McDermott said. “That was one of the toughest matches I’ve played. It’s tough when you’re both fighting out there.

The two shared a long hug at the net after McDermott converted match point. They’ll join forces this week in Reno to try to help the Cougars win their third straight team title.

“You know each other’s game so well, and it’s just so hard because it forces you to play that much better,” McDermott said.

In the girls singles final, Samantha Smith came back from a one-year hiatus to win a region title.

Smith, the state runner-up in girls singles as a freshman, opted not to play high school tennis last year, choosing instead to focus on tournament play.

She came back to Coronado’s team this year and hasn’t stopped winning. She was a 6-2, 6-3 victor over Green Valley’s Josie Legarza in the region final.

“I came back to win for Coronado,” Smith said.

Smith, who didn’t drop a game in the first four rounds of the region tournament, finally ran into some resistance from Legarza, who started well.

“I just had to mix it up,” Smith said. “She played well, and I definitely wasn’t playing my best.”

Green Valley’s Mackay Boman and John John dominated the boys doubles final, rolling to a 6-1, 6-1 win over Coronado’s Kian Habashi and Martin Rizov.

Liberty twins Payton Burk and Parker Burk breezed to their second straight region title, downing Patriots’ teammates Chessa Chrestensen and Megan Quandt, 6-2, 6-3 in the girls doubles final.

The top two finishers in the region qualify for the state individual tournament, which begins Friday in Reno. The third-place finishers in the Sunset and Sunrise Regions return to the Darling Center on Tuesday to meet in a play-in match for the final state berth from Southern Nevada.