CASSELBERRY -- Austin DeBruyne figured something had to be up when the entire Sagemont delegation suddenly turned up to see how he and Andrew Quiros were faring in their semifinal doubles match Tuesday.
The message came during a changeover. They could be Sagemont’s clinching point for another Class 1A title. Message received.
With Winter Haven All Saints’ Academy serving for the second set, DeBruyne and Quiros broke serve to instead send it to a tiebreaker. They pounced on the tiebreaker, too, finishing off a 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) victory over Holleman Hughes and Devin Patel.
“It fired me up,” DeBruyne said of receiving the news. “We were down a break at 5-4 and we were able to break back and get it to the tiebreaker.”
Said Sagemont coach Steven Browne: “When they understand this game’s important, they’re very mentally tough.”
The match represented the Lions’ 13th point in the two-day competition, enough to dash the possibility of any late comeback by All Saints’ or St. Stephen’s Episcopal (Bradenton). Both finished two points back in the final tally.
Sagemont takes the trophy home to Weston for the second time in Browne’s three years at the program. The Lions were ousted at regionals last year, though Jake Albo wound up winning overall singles and doubles crowns after working through the individual bracket.
Albo and Chris Tasker won individual titles for Sagemont, with DeBruyne nearly adding a third before falling in three sets to Brian Berdusco of St. Stephen’s.
Albo captured the No.1 flight in a lengthy 6-1, 6-4 victory over Bernardo Sanson of St. Stephen’s. The first set took nearly an hour to play, with several long rallies.
Browne said long rallies were part of the strategy, seeking to sap Sanson of his energy.
“You had to wear him down and then jump on him,” Browne said. “I told [Albo] that win or lose, make it long.”
Albo’s final step toward a repeat will be a familiar face — Miami Country Day’s Shaun Berman, last year’s opponent and a frequent training partner at the Bill Clark Tennis Academy in Cooper City.
Berman won the individual bracket by defeating Andrew Dykeman of St. Andrew’s in a 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 marathon that went some 3 1/2 hours.
Westminster Academy’s Courtney Meredith will play for the girls’ overall title, capturing the individual draw with a 6-2, 6-1 romp over Jupiter Christian’s Kylee Shipley.
“She’s improving,” Westminster coach Russ Coningsby said. “Hopefully her best comes out [Wednesday]. But she was seeing the ball better today, hitting the ball better today. She still has a couple of things to work on.”
Next up is Rasheeda McAdoo, who spearheaded a dominant Delray Beach American Heritage to victory in the team competition. Heritage won three singles titles on the way to 15 of a possible 21 points in the team scoring.
Meredith and McAdoo also will be familiar foes, often practicing together at the Blackman Tennis Academy in Boca Raton.