The North Cobb singles standout was on a mission the moment he stepped on the court against the Hillgrove star, who was undefeated on the year going into Thursday’s Region 4AAAAAA championship.
Reese served well, attacked well and sustained it the entire match. His 6-3, 6-2 win over the UAB signee sparked the rest of his teammates who were still on court, and North Cobb won 3-1 to clinch the region title.
“He was hungry for it,” North Cobb coach Bonnie Reedy said of Reese’s win over Hill. “We knew how badly he wanted it, and we wanted it for him. That helped us get over the mountain.”
When Reese wasn’t controlling the points on his own serve against Hill, he was aggressive on his return-of-serve, often putting Hill on the defensive to start the point.
That was the best plan of attack against Hill, who’s known for his consistency and lack of unforced errors.
“I really wanted to come out attacking,” Reese said. “I felt comfortable in the middle of the court with my forehand, and if I could play my game and stay loose, I could come out on top.”
Reese had to fight for it at the end of the first set after jumping ahead 5-2. After Hill held serve to cut into the lead, it took Reese enduring a couple of deuces on his own serve before pulling it out.
Winning that first set was all the momentum he needed. Reese went on to break Hill consecutive times to begin the second set and took a commanding 4-0 lead.
“(Reese) just played incredible,” Hillgrove coach Scott Hill said. “Matt had beaten him three straight times, and each match had been so close.”
Reese’s win took the pressure off Andre Canino at No. 2 singles and the No. 2 doubles team of Bradford Lahmann and Jacob Hightower. The score was tied at 1-all when Reese won, with North Cobb’s Rohan Mitchell winning 6-0, 6-1 at No. 3 singles and Hillgrove’s Nick Orvino and Davis Adams winning 6-1, 6-2 at No. 1 doubles.
Canino didn’t need to finish after taking a 6-3, 4-2 lead over Maddux Mitchell. It was Lahmann and Hightower who sealed it for North Cobb with a 7-6 (4), 7-5 win over Joey Case and Jaelen Holt at No. 2 doubles.
The match was on serve in the second set between the teams until Lahmann and Hightower held to go ahead 6-5. Then the twosome caught a break when Case and Holt served a couple of double faults, and they went on to seal the break.
“Jaryd winning took a lot of pressure off No. 2 singles and No. 2 doubles,” Reedy said.
Harrison 3, Kennesaw Mountain 2: After falling behind two matches, the Hoyas made an extraordinary comeback to seal Region’s 4AAAAAA No. 3 seed.
Peter Heflin and Ben Maryland trailed 5-2 in the third set at No. 1 doubles and faced match point before finding a way to rattle off four straight games and win 6-4, 2-6, 7-5.
Harrison’s other victories also came in three sets.
The win by Heflin and Maryland evened the match at 2-all before the Hoyas’ Bradley Singh clinched it with a 7-6, 0-6, 6-1 victory at No. 3 singles. Lee Chadwick and Dylan Harvey won 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 at No. 2 doubles.
Kennesaw Mountain got two quick points with Aaron Barris winning 6-3, 6-2 at No. 1 singles and Joe Klokow winning 6-1, 6-2 at No. 2.