BELLEVILLE — The Belleville West Maroons may have gotten a reprieve Wednesday when the possibility of severe weather caused the postponement of their boys tennis match against Belleville East.
On Thursday, the Maroons weren't as fortunate.
Junior Aaron Skaer pulled away from Cole Henke in the second set of their No. 1 singles match and the rest of the Lancers followed suit as East captured its second straight city title with a 7-2 dual-meet win.
Two of the top players in the Southwestern Conference, Skaer and Henke battled on even terms for most of the first set, before the Lancers standout eked out a 6-4 win. Still riding the emotion of his first-set triumph, Skaer then blanked Henke 6-0 in the second set. He was one of five East players to win in singles.
"That was a great match for a set. Two high-level players going toe-to-toe,'' Lancers coach Dan Skaer said. "But I think after Aaron won the first set, he started playing maybe even a little better where as maybe Cole got down a little bit. That happened in a couple of those matches in singles.
"But I think in the four-through-six singles matches our experience was a difference. Those kids have played a lot of matches.''
Lucas Birk won at No. 3 singles over Adam Seppe, while Chase Stumne, Jacob Hamilton and Adam Youck also won singles matches for East, which improved to 14-3 in dual meets for the season.
Birk then teamed with Youck to win at No 1 doubles for East, which has taken the city title for two straight years after West had won the previous eight crowns.
"It feels good. Any time you can beat West it's a big win,'' Skaer said.
West (7-6) also is in the midst of a good season. The Maroons got a three-set win from Cole Lewis, who edged Zach Fields 2-6, 6-3, 10-5 at No. 2 singles.
The Maroons also won the No. 3 doubles match.
Maroons coach Andy Brunner was pleased with the way Lewis played.
"Cole has really picked it up. He had a big win for us earlier against Lafayette (Mo.) and tonight he came out and beat a very good player in Zach Fields,'' Brunner said. "The last few matches he hasn't been just content to sit back and be a backboard. He's taking some chances and he's going for hit shots. That's great to see.
"Realistically, we knew coming into tonight that we would have to play a great match to have a chance. But I did like what I saw from this team. We've worked hard and we've come a long way from the beginning of last year. I'm proud of our effort."