Tonawanda News

May 23, 2013

LeMars punch ticket to states

By Matt Parrino
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — LANCASTER — After coming within a set of going to states in last year’s sectional tournament, North Tonawanda’s John-Michael and Andrew LeMar had one mission in mind on Wednesday afternoon: redemption.

That’s exactly what the LeMar brothers accomplished by finishing second in the sectional doubles tournament after knocking off Niagara-Wheatfield (6-0, 6-2) and Williamsville North (6-0, 6-1) to earn a spot in the finals and a trip to New York City next week to play at the legendary Flushing Meadows in Queens. 

Their run ended in the championship match against Orchard Park, who won 6-4, 6-2. 

NT coach John LeMar, the boys’ father, was proud of their effort and said it’s the deepest run in sectionals on record for a North Tonawanda doubles team.

“They played excellent. They did what they needed to do and in the finals Orchard Park was also excellent,” LeMar said. 

LeMar said that the week of preparation, anticipation and pressure leading up to Wednesday’s matches took a toll on both John-Michael and Andrew, and he was proud of the way they handled the pressure and performed in the toughest of circumstances.

“The kids handled it great but when all the pressure is over it’s a nice feeling that they did their best and played great,” he said.

Play resumed Wednesday at Lancaster High School after the rain halted action on Tuesday. The LeMars wrapped up their match against Nia.-Wheatfield in quick fashion and then bounced Will.-North quickly as well to move on to the finals.

Rain came into play again, forcing a one hour delay before the LeMars and Orchard Park could get back on the court to play the final match.

The state tournament begins on May 30 and LeMar said the brothers are extremely happy to be moving on to the next stage of the season. The experience of playing at Flushing Meadows is one that they will remember for a long time to come, he said.

As for sectionals, John-Michael played his final match on a Western New York court against OP and after the match took it hard.

“It’s a long season and it’s a lot of pressure,” LeMar said. “All the players go into the tournament knowing it’s single elimination. I think they’ll look back and be happy they went to states. They had a great season and a great career. … They’ll look back and be very proud of what they did.”