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Raiders cruise to district tennis final

BONNE TERRE – On the precipice of closing out a Class 1, District 1 boys tennis semifinal triumph, North County senior Landon Kater dialed up the pressure on Tuesday afternoon.

Kater closed out a No. 1 singles showdown with fellow state sectional qualifier River Blount 7-5, 6-2, and the Raiders advanced with a collective 5-1 victory at home.

Dreston Hoffman and Evan Veach also secured straight-set wins for North County (11-3), which will face top seed Notre Dame for the championship on Wednesday.

While the two lower-ranked doubles contests turned lopsided, the momentum permanently shifted toward the Raiders midway through the No. 1 battle.

Noah Silvey and Wren Blount notched an early service break, but Peyton Cheek and Kater retaliated for an 8-3 result after claiming the last five games in succession.

River Blount and Isaiah Eudy cruised to an 8-0 shutout for Arcadia Valley (4-6) at No. 2 doubles. But Garrett Hayes paired with Hoffman to roll 8-1 at the No. 3 level to even the overall team score.

Veach stepped into the No. 6 singles slot for North County, as multi-sport athlete Bryan Basinger had a baseball obligation, and quickly dispatched Andrew Edgar 6-0, 6-0.

Hoffman secured the last nine games against Trey Dedear to prevail 6-3, 6-0, leaving the Raiders four remaining matches to secure one last victory.

Blount offered a much tougher challenge for Kater in a rematch after falling to him 6-0, 6-1 during the individual district final. Blount chased down a short return to finish an rapid exchange of volleys, then charged in furiously to flick a return past Kater for a winner.

The opponents traded service breaks early on, but Kater topped a couple of long rallies to eventually close out an opening set that was square at 5-5.

Kater took control from there by hitting deeper returns and finding more corners to push Blount away from the net. A running forehand missed wide on match point.

Three singles matches were not completed once the Raiders clinched. Wren Blount was interrupted after building a commanding 6-1, 4-0 cushion over Andrew Kay.

Hayes had a one-set advantage over Eudy favoring North County, and Cheek was ahead of Silvy 5-3 despite being broken just before action was halted.

Singles Results:

1. Landon Kater (NC) def. River Blount 7-5, 6-2

2. Peyton Cheek (NC) led Noah Silvy 5-3

3. Wren Blount (AV) led Andrew Kay 6-1, 4-0

4. Dreston Hoffman (NC) def. Trey Dedear 6-3, 6-0

5. Garrett Hayes (NC) led Isaiah Eudy 7-5, 4-3

6. Evan Veach (NC) def. Andrew Edgar 6-0, 6-0

Doubles Results:

1. Kater/Cheek (NC) def. Silvy/W Blount 8-3

2. R Blount/Eudy (AV) def. Kay/Veach 8-0

3. Hoffman/Hayes (NC) def. Dedear/Jacob Hogan, 8-1

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