PALM DESERT — For the second postseason in a row, the Burroughs High boys' tennis team saw its bid to reach the CIF Southern Section Division II final dry up in the desert.
Faced with playing in temperatures that reached 105 degrees in the heart of the Coachella Valley on Tuesday afternoon — and about 120 degrees on the court — Burroughs saw its season come to an end with a 14-4 semifinal road defeat against top-seeded, and defending division champion, Palm Desert.
It didn't take long for the Indians (13-3) to fall victim to the oppressive dry heat again. Burroughs, which suffered a 14-4 semifinal loss to host Palm Desert last season, appeared to wear down with each set because of the unfavorable conditions. On the flip side, Palm Desert, which will meet second-seeded Santa Monica in the championship match May 30 at the Claremont Club, used the weather to its advantage.
"It's brutal and it's something we certainly aren't used to," said Burroughs Coach Roy Bernhardt, whose team finished second in the Pacific League before posting playoff victories against Rio Mesa, Valencia and Chadwick. "We had some leads in different sets and then fatigue would set in from battling the heat.
"There's really nothing you can do about it. We still had a great season and we will have most of the team back next year."
Burroughs received two singles wins from Garrett Auproux, the reigning All-Area Singles Player of the Year. Auproux, who won the league's singles title, posted a come-from-behind 7-5 second-set win against Austin Graham and then earned a 6-0 victory against Ryan Marker.
Auproux, who will next participate in the round of 16 on Friday at the CIF Individuals Tournament in Seal Beach, said it took some time to adjust to the climate.
"It's an advantage for them being used to playing in it," said Auproux, who trailed, 5-2, against Graham before rallying. "In the first round, I got a bit dehydrated and I also did again early in the second round.
"It's a long voyage down here and we wish we could have played on our home court. We just came up a little short."
Burroughs, which will move up to Division I next season, also received a 6-3 singles win from Sawyer Patterson and a 7-6(7-3) doubles victory from Wen Yao Lin and Michael Whelan.
Palm Desert (21-1) will look to win its second straight championship and fourth overall since 1995. The Aztecs, who have captured the Desert Valley League crown, proved to be especially powerful in doubles.
Palm Desert turned to its top doubles tandem of Jack Felich and Austin Rapp to lead its surge. The duo won, 6-4, 6-1, 6-0.
The Aztecs also got a sweep from their No. 3 doubles team of John Kimmes and Matt Laggat (6-4, 6-3, 6-0). Abe Hewko, Palm Desert's No. 1 singles player, swept, 7-5, 6-2, 6-0.
Palm Desert Coach Randy Blalock, whose team earlier registered postseason victories against Glendale, Claremont and Arroyo Grande, said depth proved to be a factor in solving the Indians again.
"We are solid and we have no holes," Blalock said. "We knew coming in that Garrett would be a driving force and we were hoping to take one or two sets from him.
"We are used to this weather and it's ingrained into our players that we are still strong in the third round."
Palm Desert No. 2 singles player Austin Graham won two sets, 6-3, 7-6(7-1). Marker posted a 6-1 win for the Aztecs, who received two wins in doubles from Robby Graham and Cameron McDonald (6-4, 6-0).