SARTELL -- The Bemidji High School boys tennis team flipped a regular-season loss into a first-round playoff win on Saturday.
The Lumberjacks topped Brainerd 5-2 to open the Subsection 8AA North Team Tournament in Sartell, avenging their 5-2 loss against the Warriors on April 23.
“I’m really proud of the level of play by our team today,” BHS head coach Mark Fodness said. “We’ve had a good rivalry (with Brainerd) over the years, so it was a great effort by the guys.”
Bemidji (17-4) swept the doubles matches and split with Brainerd on the singles side.
Michael Dickinson and Quincy Wilson picked up the first point, prevailing 6-3, 6-2 at third doubles.
“Michael and Quincy have only played doubles together three times this year, but you wouldn’t know it by watching them play,” Fodness said. “They really move well as a team and they have good chemistry. It definitely gave the team a lift when they put us up 1-0.”
The Warriors evened the match at 1-1 with a second-singles victory, but Ben Hess and Kolden Michalicek came from behind for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 win at No. 2 doubles.
Again, Brainerd returned to a tie when Keenan Hodge won at third singles. But from then on, BHS swept the remaining three points up for grabs.
Jonah Fuhrman won 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 at fourth singles, and the Wyatt Harrom-Silas Hess combination won 6-3, 6-3 at first doubles for the winning point.
“Jonah had a huge win for us at fourth singles,” Fodness said. “Wyatt and Si… sure brought it today. They jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first set and pretty much stayed in control against a very solid doubles team to seal the win for the team.”
Spencer Konecne added the finishing touches, walking out as a 6-4, 6-2 victor over Patrick Moraghan at No. 1 singles.
“It’s been very rare to get a win without counting on Spencer for a point,” Fodness said. “And today he earned a hard-fought win against a very strong opponent, so he just put an exclamation mark on the final outcome.”
The Lumberjacks advance to the second round of the section tournament, where they will face Sartell-St. Stephen at noon on Thursday, May 23, at St. Cloud Apollo. The winner will advance to the Section 8AA championship at 4 p.m.
Meanwhile, the Subsection 8AA North Individual Tournament is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Tuesday, May 21, at Alexandria.
Bemidji 5, Brainerd 2
No. 1: Konecne (BEM) def. Moraghan 6-4, 6-2
No. 2: Goeden (BRA) def. Saxton 6-1, 7-5
No. 3: Hodge (BRA) def. Guida 4-6, 6-2, 6-1
No. 4: Fuhrman (BEM) def. Barber 4-6, 6-3, 6-3
No. 1: Harrom/S. Hess (BEM) def. Aadland/Storbakken 6-3, 6-3
No. 2: B. Hess/Michalicek (BEM) def. Rivard/Jambor 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
No. 3: Dickinson/Wilson (BEM) def. Kelm/Spitzley 6-3, 6-2