In its two postseason matches, the Burroughs High boys’ tennis team hardly resembled a squad that finished fourth in the competitive Pacific League this season.
Once the playoff bracket was unveiled, the Bears proved to be a vastly improved team that lived on the edge with aspirations of making a deep postseason run.
Unfortunately for Burroughs, its season came to a close Friday following a 9-9 (77-73) home defeat against Corona Centennial in a CIF Southern Section Division III second-round match.
Burroughs (4-11) held a 7-2 lead midway through the contest before Centennial (11-3) rallied to advance and spoil Burroughs’ bid for an appearance in the quarterfinals.
The Bears began the postseason Wednesday with a 9-9 (74-70) road win against Cate and appeared in command against the Huskies.
Ishaan Gupta of Centennial posted a 6-4 singles win against Bernard Woods to clinch the victory.
“We should have won this match and we just didn’t,” Burroughs coach Roy Bernhardt said. “We did a lot of good things today and against Cate, but we came up short today.
“We played against two teams in the playoffs who we were pretty even with and we gained a lot of experience. I think we’ll have a better team next year.”
The Bears took an 8-7 lead following a 6-2 doubles victory from Zion DuMonde and Michael Fraser and made it 9-7 with a 6-3 singles win from Markos Mkrtchyan.
The Huskies, who placed second in the Big VIII League before earning a 9-9 (77-76) opening-round playoff win versus Murrieta Valley, quickly knotted it at 9.
“We thought things were good when we were up 9-7,” said Mkrtchyan, a freshman who won all three of his sets. “We were in a good spot, but we just couldn’t pull it out.
“We played well coming down the stretch in the regular season and I definitely thought we played our best tennis in the playoffs. Both playoff matches were very similar against good teams.”
Burroughs, which finished behind Arcadia, Burbank, and Crescenta Valley in the league, held a 4-2 lead after the first round and 7-5 advantage following the second round.
Mkrtchyan won his three sets, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4. Woods took two sets, 6-1, 6-4.
The Bears received three victories in doubles from DuMonde and Fraser, 6-2, 6-1, 6-1. Kaian Bates and Vivek Bhakta picked up a 6-3 doubles win for Burroughs.
Centennial, which finished behind Martin Luther King in league, got two doubles win apiece from Eddie Shin and Nathan Bang, 7-5, 6-1, and Drew Longly and Elijah Foster, 6-1, 6-2, and one victories from Joey Ayallah and Daniel Park, 6-2.
The Huskies picked up two singles wins from Gupta, 6-1, 7-5, and one each from Amar Banerjee, 6-2, and Gavin Tan Torres, 6-0.