Taler Brazell was nervous.
Brazell and twin sister Amanda, representing The Meadows, faced their toughest challenge of the season Friday against Clark’s Natasha James and Madee Pasimio in the Sunset Region girls doubles championship at Darling Tennis Center.
In the seventh game of a tight third set, Taler Brazell knew she had to do something.
With a leap that looked more like it belonged on a basketball hardwood than a tennis court, Brazell smacked a return high into the air that floated over the Chargers duo’s heads and bounced inches inside the backline for the first point of the game.
The Brazells went on to a 6-2, 1-6, 7-5 win over James and Pasimio to claim the Sunset Region girls doubles title. Both teams advance to next week’s state tournament in Reno.
“We needed to get ahead on these guys. I knew if we started letting up a little bit, they would attack us and we were going to lose the game,” Taler Brazell said. “That’s how they capitalized on the second set: We got in the mode of ‘We got this because we’re ahead.’ But we’ve got to stay strong (the whole match).”
The win was validating for the Brazells and also for the Mustangs, who compete in Class 2A for most sports but ran undefeated through the Class 4A Northwest League in girls tennis. The Meadows won the Sunset Region team tournament and is headed to the state meet.
“It’s really great, both for Taler and I and for our school,” Amanda Brazell said. “We haven’t really been noticed in sports a lot, but now we’re starting to get on there. We know that we’re a school that can compete with other schools, and that’s a great feeling.”
Durango’s Andrea Melo and Claire Melo took third place with a 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 win over teammates Katie Moore and Josie Dean.
In the girls singles final, Spring Valley’s Tiffany Tavares defeated Palo Verde’s Victoire Saperstein 6-2, 6-0 to claim her first region title.
“I’ve been playing for 10 years, and this is what I’ve been training for 10 years to do, so I can go out there and play like that,” Tavares said.
Tavares and Saperstein exchanged points through four games to start the first set before the Grizzlies star, who finished the regular season undefeated, broke serve and took control.
The Meadows’ Austin McMillan outlasted Palo Verde’s Nikki Newell 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 for third place.
Clark’s Kris Yee defeated The Meadows’ Max Novak 6-2, 6-4 to claim the boys singles title. Ishmael Gibson of Spring Valley finished third with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Centennial’s Travis Beck.
Bishop Gorman’s Kyle Del Rosario and Cody Miller took the boys doubles title with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Tanner Berkabile and Ozzy Abraham of Palo Verde. Palo Verde’s Zach Bellon and Jeremy Mann finished third.
All first- and second-place finishers advanced to next week’s state tournament in Reno. The third-place finishers will face off against the Sunrise Region’s third-placers Monday in state play-in matches at Darling Tennis Center.