WAILEA - Baldwin High School seniors Scott Fukuoka and Ryan Hamamura got the finish they were looking for.
The top-seeded doubles duo cruised past Maui Prep's John Caputo and Byron Doan 6-3, 6-1 in the Maui Interscholastic League individual tennis championship final Saturday at Wailea Tennis Club.
The win came exactly one week after the Bears took the boys team title with a 3-2 victory over defending champion Seabury Hall.
Alec Wagner of Lahainaluna High School hits a return during his 6-3, 6-3 win over Maui High’s Jhun Gumboc in the Maui Interscholastic League boys singles final Saturday at Wailea Tennis Club.
The Maui News / LEHIA APANA photo
"It's like a tennis version of a storybook ending," Fukuoka said. "We were able to win the team championships and now the doubles championship, and this is pretty much what we worked our whole high school careers for."
Caputo and Doan were seeded eighth.
Fukuoka and Hamamura, who beat sixth-seeded Dillon Koga and Ray Tengan of King Kekaulike 6-0, 6-1 in the semifinal match earlier Saturday morning, said they needed a few games to get back into competition mode for the final.
"In the beginning we got off to a slow start. We were down 3-1 in the first set, and then we came back," Hamamura said. "Once we got settled it was pretty straightforward what we needed to do."
Fukuoka and Hamamura have known each other since preschool and have been doubles partners for four years.
"Because we're friends, it's just more comfortable," Hamamura said. "It's OK if he makes a mistake or if I make a mistake, it's not like we're going to get mad at each other, because we know we can just pick ourselves up."
"And we can count on each other to pick the other one up," Fukuoka added.
All of the top seeds won titles. Alec Wagner of Lahainaluna defeated No. 2 Jhun Gumboc of Maui High 6-3, 6-3 in the boys singles final; Alicia Ballesteros of St. Anthony beat Lahainaluna's Melissa Taketa, the No. 4 seed, 6-2, 7-6 (4) in girls singles; and Baldwin's Tayler Duarte and Rachel Pascual were 6-2, 7-6 (1) winners over Lahainaluna's Nicole Aceret and Chantelle Baclay, the No. 2 seed, in girls doubles.
Wagner played for Lahainaluna his freshman year, then missed his sophomore and junior years to compete in USTA events. He said "it was definitely a good decision" to return to the team his senior year, adding that he plans to formally commit to Saint Mary's (Calif.) College.
"I just wanted to be able to play for Lahainaluna and be able to represent my school and really succeed," Wagner said. "I'm looking to be in college tennis too, so to be in a team atmosphere, it really prepares me. And it's not something I'm used to, so it's a changeup."
All that is left for Wagner's prep career is the state tournament, scheduled for May 3-5 at Central Oahu Regional Park.
"For states I have to play at a much higher level, because the tennis is at a much higher level. I just have to raise the bar a little bit," he said. "I know if I compete and play at my level, and do what I do best, I feel like I can pull it off, but this year it's anyone's game."
Ballesteros was the runner-up at last year's MIL individual tournament. The junior made sure that didn't happen again.
"Last year was kind of my motivation, just to try to come in first place," she said.
"It was back and forth and the second set was a fight. I was a little tired, I was a little nervous, and I know Melissa is really good, so I just tried not to give up. It feels good - all my hard work finally paid off."
* Lehia Apana is at email@example.com