ARCADIA — Don’t be fooled by what the Flintridge Prep boys’ tennis team accomplished during the regular season.
It’s the playoffs where the upstart Rebels are now making plenty of noise, leading to them celebrate an historic moment in the program’s history Wednesday.
Flintridge Prep punched its ticket to the CIF Southern Section Division IV championship match with a 9-9 (74-62 in games) win against second-seeded Bishop Montgomery on at Arcadia Tennis Center.
Flintridge Prep (11-5) will make its first championship appearance and will face No. 1 seed Maranatha (22-2) in the title match at 1:15 p.m. Friday at the Claremont Club in Claremont. Maranatha posted a 15-3 semifinal road win against Canyon Springs on Wednesday.
The Rebels, who have just two seniors in David Kim and Gillis Linde, have certainly come a long way since finishing third in the Liberty League.
“We are playing some great tennis right now,” Flintridge Prep second-year coach Roger Hollomand said. “We have a lot of young players, so I really didn’t know what to expect.
“You definitely can’t tell about this team based off going 4-4 in league. It’s a competitive league that we are in now. It’s about the guys having a lot of resolve and knowing how to close things out. It’s going to be exciting to get to play for a CIF championship Friday.”
Flintridge Prep’s doubles team of Kim and Patrick Hastings earned a 6-0 win to give the Rebels a 9-6 lead midway through the third round. Bishop Montgomery (13-6) won the final three sets.
Flintridge Prep, which notched postseason wins against California Math and Science Academy, Jurupa Valley and Segerstrom, held a 70-56 lead in games heading into the final round with the teams tied at 6 sets apiece.
“We got that win in doubles and we had an idea we’d be in good shape just based on games won,” said Kim, who teamed with Hastings earlier in the day to record a 6-4 victory. “Right now, it’s just absolutely incredible to experience something like this.
“I’ve been on the team all four years and we’d get to the first or maybe second round at best. We’re getting solid play all around in the lineup and we just want to keep it going.”
Flintridge Prep received singles wins from Andrew Megerdichian, 6-0, 6-0, and one apiece from Linde, 6-0, and Derek Tran, 6-0.
The Rebels got two victories in doubles from Will Lanstra and Loran Baxter, 6-3, 6-0, and one from Neel Sadda and Leon Liao, 6-3.
“It’s just great with the way we played,” Megerdichian said. “I really like our confidence level right now. It’s an overall good day.”
Bishop Montgomery, which finished tied for first in the Del Rey League before beating Western, Hemet and Le Lycee, picked up singles wins from Jinta Sasamori, 6-1, 6-1, 6-1, and two from Yuta Yamada, 6-4, 6-2. The Knights got two victories apiece in doubles from Scott Moore and Joe Takeuchi, 6-3, 6-3, and Kellan Marshall and Brian Dyke, 6-2, 6-3.
Flintridge Prep and Maranatha will compete for the second time this season. Flintridge Prep suffered an 18-0 nonleague road defeat on March 14 at Pasadena High, though Flintridge Prep didn’t compete with many of its starters.