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Beckman boys tennis edges Los Alamitos for CIF Division 2 championship

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CLAREMONT — Beckman boys tennis coach Nick Friendt offered his players plenty of encouragement Friday in a tight CIF-SS Division 2 final against Los Alamitos.

But one bit of advice provided a snapshot of the Patriots’ mindset.

“Just like league matches,” the coach barked to his doubles players.

Yes, Beckman conjured the gritty lessons of playing in the Pacific Coast League as they dueled the Surf League runner-up Griffins at The Claremont Club.

The top-seeded Patriots used a well-balanced effort to grind out a 10-8 victory against the No. 3 Griffins and earn their first section title.

Beckman (18-10-1) finished fifth in the Pacific Coast League with a 5-7 record but claimed the No. 1 seed in Division 2 as an at-large entry.

“If you’re tough in league,” Friendt said, “you’re ready for big-time tennis. Woodbridge and University were in the Open semifinals. Portola made the semifinals (in Division 1) and were the No. 2 seed. Northwood made the quarterfinals (in Division 1).

“The Pacific Coast League will chew you up and spit you out. You better bring your A game every time.”

Beckman and Los Alamitos (15-4-1) opened the season by playing to a 9-9 tie, including a 74-74 deadlock on games.

The Patriots showed their toughness in the third round by clinching the title with a 7-6 (7-4) victory from its No. 2 doubles team of senior Jonathan Prijyanonda and junior Dennis Wang against Los Alamitos’ No. 1 team of Jack Casey and Dylan Chen.

“It’s like watching Kobe Bryant against Michael Jordan in the fourth quarter (and) overtime,” Friendt said. “What a way to clinch a match.”

On championship point, Prijyanonda served and blasted a forehand off a volley attempt at the net. The Patriots’ players soon rushed the court to celebrate.

“Everyone thinks of this moment,” Prijyanonda said. “I didn’t think it would happen today.”

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