“Our kids showed a little bit of mental toughness,” Wise said. “I’ve seen it develop during this season. There were matches where I didn’t think we were going to win. They just found ways to pull through all season long. The whole team contributes to this, but it starts with our three seniors that have come through for us time after time. Then I have a few sophomores who all contribute as much as anyone could expect them to.”
Kokomo (7-12) picked up a victory at No. 2 doubles, where the tandem of Jake Farkas and Joey Hurlocker topped Conner Leicht and Treaver Harris 6-2, 6-2.
“I was really proud of how our guys fought and battled,” Kokomo coach Shawn Flanary said. “I think their team was the better team with more experience, but our guys made it tough and tight and interesting. I couldn’t be prouder of how we competed. I think we made a lot progress. If we would’ve played this team earlier in the season, I don’t think it would’ve been that close. The main thing, we kept going back for more and made them take it, and they earned it.
Unprompted, Flanary also took the opportunity to expressed his admiration for Wise.
“You couldn’t ask for a better guy, and we’ve been on the winning end of a lot of these,” Flanary said. “He’s just always been a very gracious sportsman. Most people don’t realize this, but this rivalry extends back to [Wise’s] college days. My dad played college tennis against him. I know his son, Mike, well. It’s a little bittersweet because we got beat, but I couldn’t be happier for him and his team.”
Taylor will advance past the sectional round for the first time in 32 years, where it will face Logansport (17-3) Tuesday in the semifinal round of the Kokomo Regional. The Berries beat the Titans 4-1 during the regular season.