Barlow wins the tournament, while Central Catholic claims the overall league title

by: THE OUTLOOK: DAVID BALL - Barlows Kyle Helm, above, prepares to smash a forehand shot during his 6-2, 6-1 win in the singles final.The Barlow boys tennis team won the matches that mattered most to claim the Mount Hood Conference district tournament with 20 points.

The Bruins went 4-1 in head-to-head matches against regular-season champion Central Catholic to leave the Rams in the dust at district. Caleb Cox highlighted the effort by coming back for a 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 quarterfinal win over Central’s Gabe Peak in Tuesday’s quarterfinals, despite battling cramps that limited his mobility through most of the third set.

“I knew if I lost it would be my last high school match. I had to win that one to get to state,” Cox said. “Whenever the ball came to me, I tried to blast it into the corners. I wasn’t able to really move around much, so I had to win points quickly.”

He fell to teammate Kyle Helm in the semifinals, as Helm won each of his matches in straight sets, taking the singles title with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Centennial’s Justin Thammabanvong in the finals.

n The Bruins had similar success in the doubles bracket, advancing two teams into the final four, meaning half of the Barlow squad qualified for next week’s state tournament.

Zac Blume and Daley McKay gave the Bruins a huge boost in the team standings after taking on three straight Central Catholic opponents. The Barlow pair won their quarterfinal and semifinal showdowns before falling in three sets to top-seeded Joe Palodichuk and Carl Sonnenschein in the finals — the only set that the Central duo surrendered during the tournament.

Central Catholic finished second at the tournament, giving it the conference championship based on it’s 10-0 performance during the regular season.

View an online photo gallery from the tournament at ...

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