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KENLY — The North Johnston High varsity boys tennis team won its sixth out of its last seven matches with 9-0 shutout of county rival Princeton at home Wednesday.
“It’s pretty exciting even though (Princeton) is a little down because they lost some guys (from last year’s team),” North Johnston head coach David Anderson said. “It always feels good to beat your rival, but those guys (Princeton) are improving and are a tough little team.”
After starting 0-4, the Panthers have won six of their last seven matches, including their first three 2-A Eastern Plains Conference games. Anderson said winning the conference is more important this year because the EPC only gets one automatic bid due to only having five boys tennis teams in the six-school conference — due to North Pitt not carrying a tennis team. Anderson said he tried to make the nonconference schedule tough to prepare them to win the conference.
“I did that for a reason, so that we could get into those tight situations of playing under pressure so when we got to conference we’d be used to it,” Anderson said.
A day after beating last year’s EPC champ Nash Central 5-4, the Panthers got the five points in just over an hour to defeat the Bulldogs (0-8) of the 1-A Carolina Conference. North Johnston’s Graham Walston, Brandon Peedin and Carsse Lucas won in 50 minutes as they lost just a set point between them. No. 1 Michael Barnes defeated Blaine Phillips, 6-2, 7-5, 10 minutes later. Five minutes later Hunter Jones would win a third set tiebreaker with Juan Bravo to clinch the match.
“We played well coming off an emotional win last night,” Anderson said. “I was proud of the effort.”
NORTH JOHNSTON 9, PRINCETON 0
Michael Barnes (NJ) def. Blaine Phillips 6-2, 7-5; Hunter Jones(NJ) def. Juan Bravo 6-2, 4-6, 10-6;
Scott Sellers (NJ) def. Jared Jones 6-2, 6-4; Graham Walston (NJ) def. Luis Contreras 6-0, 6-0; Brandon Peedin (NJ) def. Matthew Eason 6-0, 6-1; Carsse Lucas (NJ) def. Leo Vilchez 6-0, 6-0.
Barnes-Sellers (NJ) def. Phillips-Bravo 8-2; Jones-Walston (NJ) def. Jones-Contreras 8-1; Peedin-Lucas (NJ) def. Eason-Vilchez 8-2.