ALEXANDRIA -- He had to go through his own teammate to do it, but Filippo Buffo captured the 8AA North Subsection individual singles championship for the Bemidji High School boys tennis team on Friday in Alexandria.
Buffo beat out fellow Lumberjack Noah Johnson in the subsection championship after both turned in two victories to meet in the title bout.
“Going 1-2 in singles in the North subsection is a really nice accomplishment,” BHS head coach Kyle Fodness said. “I don’t know the last time we’ve had (first and second) singles players advance as a 1 and 2 (seed) out of the North subsection. It’s very difficult to do, so good job from them.”
Buffo began his run with a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Brainerd’s Karlton Anderson, and then he continued on with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Brainerd’s Matthew Moraghan in the semifinals.
Buffo then met Johnson for the subsection crown. Johnson had defeated Nathan Cihak of Detroit Lakes 6-2, 6-4 and then Ives Hilgers of Moorhead 6-4, 6-2 to reach the finale.
It was Buffo who won out in the end, as he continued his undefeated season with a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Johnson.
“It’s always a little different playing your teammate there,” Fodness said. “They were both playing nice and loose in their third match of the day. There were a lot of good points. Even though it was 6-0, 6-0, Noah fought and had a lot of good points.”
Michael Dickinson and Logan Jensen also reached the doubles championship, and their run included avenging a loss just two days old with a three-set victory.
After a first-round bye, the two cruised past Austin Miller and Jordan Fields of Detroit Lakes 6-2, 6-2 in the quarterfinals.
That set up a rematch with Brainerd’s Beck Barber and RJ Campbell, who defeated the BHS tandem in three sets during Wednesday’s team tournament. This time around, however, Dickinson and Jensen got the last laugh with a 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 comeback win.
Dickinson and Jensen took the championship match to three sets, and even had two match points, but Alexandria’s Jacob Partington and Gannon Lueck ultimately prevailed 3-6, 7-6 (10-8), 6-2.
“You kind of saw them start to play like they had at points during the year, where they really looked impressive,” Fodness said of his tandem. “At that point, it’s kind of tough (to lose the second set). Emotionally, after a long day, it’s a little tough to come out with that same energy.”
Bemidji’s John McNallan and Casey Rupp also advanced out of the first round, sweeping Sartell-St. Stephen’s Aidan Woods and Bailey Woods 6-0, 6-0. They then ran into Partington and Lueck, who prevailed 6-4, 7-5 in the quarterfinals.
The top four singles and doubles finishers from the North and South subsections will meet up for the Section 8AA Individual Tournament at 10 a.m. on Thursday, June 3, in Sartell. Buffo and Johnson advance in singles play as the North’s top two seeds, and Dickinson and Jensen advance in doubles play as the North No. 2.
BHS will also compete in the Section 8AA Team Tournament, facing Becker in the semifinals at noon on Wednesday, June 2, at St. Cloud Tech. The championship will follow at 4 p.m. in Sartell.