Prep Playoffs at a Glance : SOUTHERN SECTION DIVISION II TEAM FINAL
Today’s schedule: Sunny Hills (21-1) vs. Palm Desert (22-1-1), Shadow Mountain Resort & Racquet Club, Palm Springs, 3:15 p.m.
* Defending champion: Sunny Hills.
* Outlook: The 100-degree heat is about the only thing that might slow down No. 1-seeded Sunny Hills in its quest for a third section title in four years. The Lancers have cruised through the first four rounds of the playoffs, never allowing more than 3 1/3 points in any match. Meanwhile, third-seeded Palm Desert is lucky to be in the finals. It survived three 11-10 matches, including one in the first round against a wild-card team.
Palm Desert’s only qualifier for the section individual tournament’s main draw was singles player Dann Battistone, who lost to Sunny Hills’ Joseph Gilbert in the round of 16, 6-3, 6-4. With Gilbert, Kevin Kim (the top-ranked boys’ 16 player in the nation), and John Han playing singles, expect Palm Desert to stack its doubles by moving Battistone from singles. Sunny Hills Coach Steve White might choose to move Kim or Gilbert into doubles, but with the strength of his doubles teams, he could probably still win easily by leaving his lineup intact.
The only way Palm Desert has a chance to pull the monumental upset is if Sunny Hills’ van breaks down in the desert and never reaches the courts.