The boys tennis teams at Liberty and Stockdale will finally get a chance to break their tie, and this one will have everything on the line.
The Patriots and Mustangs tied three times during the regular season -- 6-6 in both league meetings and 3-3 in a Lynch Cup match (won by Liberty on the third tiebreaker). Monday, the Central Section announced they'll play once more as the Nos. 4 and 5 seeds paired against each other in the Division I quarterfinals Thursday.
Clovis West and Fresno-Bullard received the top two seeds in Division I. The only other local D-I team is No. 6 Garces, which also has a bye to Friday's quarterfinal at No. 3 Clovis-Buchanan.
Seven-time defending section champion Bakersfield Christian is the top seed in Division IV; No. 3 Taft and No. 4 South also will be home for the quarterfinals.
South Yosemite League champion Ridgeview and Delano are the top two seeds in Division III; both have byes to Friday's semifinals.
Frontier, Tehachapi and East are seeded Nos. 3, 4 and 5 in Division II, behind Visalia-Redwood and Clovis North.
McFarland is No. 2 in a two-team Division VI; the Cougars play at Strathmore in Wednesday's championship.
The first round in each division is played Wednesday, though most teams have byes to Friday. Among locals, only West (at Fresno-Memorial in D-II), Independence (at Hanford West in D-III), North (at Kingsburg in D-III), Arvin (at Caruthers in D-V) and McFarland play Wednesday.
Johnson lands No. 2 seed
If seeds hold, East High senior D.J. Johnson will get the rematch he's been looking for in the Central Section individual boys tennis championships.
Just like last year, Johnson drew the No. 2 seed behind Visalia-El Diamante's Ryan Andrada in the singles draw, which begins Saturday at Clovis-Buchanan and concludes the following weekend.
Last year, Andrada beat Johnson 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 on his home courts in Visalia.
But other threats lurk in the draw: Bakersfield Christian's Sullivan Roche, who took fourth last year, is seeded fifth behind Andrew Gong of Visalia-CVC and Allen Wang of Buchanan. SWYL champion Tim Roe of Frontier is No. 6, East's Samuel Ramirez No. 8, Garces' Chris Robles No. 9, SYL champion David Perez of Mira Monte No. 12 and Stockdale's Matt Nisson No. 13.
In doubles, the Liberty team of Anthony Busacca-Matt Sewell is No. 2 behind a team from Fresno-Central.
Other local seeded teams include Charles Tamer-John Matthew Flores of Stockdale at No. 5, Garces' Daniel Taylor-Thomas Newman at No. 9, Bakersfield Christian's Austin Lee-Jared Kaing at No. 11, Stockdale's Preet Sheth-Matt Wells at No. 13 and BCHS' David Rodriguez-Nolan Schuler at No. 16.