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Breland joins relatives on state title podium

Rebecca Breland didn’t just wonder if she would get to join her niece and nephew on the list of state tennis champions.

The Canyon Springs sophomore simply wasn’t going to take no for an answer.

Breland capped one of the more dominant performances ever in the girls singles tournament, beating Bishop Gorman’s Sarah Toti, 6-2, 6-4, in the championship match Saturday at Carson High School.

In five matches in the Sunrise Region tournament and three at state, Breland lost seven games. Six of those were to Toti, the state runner-up for a second straight year.

“My dream was for her to win a state title,” Canyon Springs coach Cheryl Dameron said of Breland. “I didn’t dream she’d only give up seven games. To dominate like this is unbelievable.”

Breland’s victory was part of a sweep by the South. Palo Verde’s Brandon Parker won the boys singles title, Bonanza’s Aashish Daulat and Andrew Whiting repeated in boys doubles, and Bishop Gorman’s Anita Lee and Sarah Bessen won girls doubles.

Breland finished fourth in the Sunrise Region last year, a year after niece Candyce Boney won state in girls singles and nephew Stan Breland took the boys singles title.

“It feels good to finally be a part of that group,” Rebecca Breland said.

A day after leading Bonanza to the state team title, Daulat and Whiting defeated teammates Laurent Gontier and Sean Lettero 6-4, 6-3 for the boys doubles crown.

“Everyone put their friendship aside for the match and played their best,” Daulat said. “As soon as it was over, we were all friends again.”

Gontier and Lettero had an impressive tournament run after finishing third in the Sunset Region. Their loss in that tournament was also to Daulat and Whiting.

“It was a nice celebration of Bonanza tennis,” Bengals coach Erik Davis said. “It was mentally tough for both teams, but it was also nice as a coach to kick back and relax and just watch them play. They earned it.”

Parker became the only boys player this decade to win three state crowns when he defeated Reno’s Jeff Mullen 6-3, 7-5 in boys singles.

“He played really consistent,” Palo Verde coach Zach Brandt said. “He was serving big today. His return of serve was just huge.”

To reach the final, Parker beat defending state champion Evan Song of Green Valley 7-5, 6-3 in the semifinals.

Parker won doubles titles with partner David Nichols in 2005 and ’06. Parker’s brother Cameron was a two-time state singles champion, taking first in 2001 and ’03.

In girls doubles, Lee and Bessen defeated Silverado’s Kristen Santero and Nicole Santero, 6-0, 7-6 (5).

Lee, a junior, won the state singles title last year. Lee, Bessen and Toti went unbeaten in singles in the Gaels’ victory over Galena on Friday in the state championship match.

“They’re just very good players,” Gorman coach Gordon Hammond said. “When you have really good players, you can put anybody together for doubles.”

The Santero sisters finished as state runners-up for the third consecutive year.

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