The bottom of Gilman's lineup helped the Greyhounds reach the top of the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference on Thursday.
Gilman's No. 2 doubles team of Jay Barrett and Will Faison rallied to win a tiebreaker that let the Greyhounds tie host Mount St. Joseph in the conference's title match. The only match left was at No. 3 singles where Galen Rende of Gilman was finishing off his 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 victory over Tristan Boustany. That completed Gilman's come-from-behind 3-2 victory over the Gaels in the A Conference championship.
Gilman finished the season 13-1, and this was its first team championship in three years. Mount St. Joseph (13-1) was the first team besides McDonogh or Gilman to win the regular-season title in 20 years and came into the title match undefeated.
"We wanted to knock off the big boys," said Gilman coach Jim Busick. "It was added incentive."
Jordan Portner of Mount St. Joseph scored a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Alex Hoblitzel at No. 2 singles, and the No. 1 doubles team of Matt Bishop and Kevin Gates beat Gilman's Brian Midel and Preston Suan, 6-1, 6-4.
But Gilman's Michael Katz scored an impressive 6-0, 6-1 victory over Joe LaBate at No. 1 singles, meaning the Greyhounds needed victories in those final two matches. Barrett and Faison won the first set over Colin Crawford and Colin Keenan, and the second set went to a tiebreaker.
The Mount St. Joseph duo jumped out in front, but Barrett and Faison bounced back to seal the 6-5, 7-6 (7-5) victory. That made it 2-2 with Rende and Boustany playing early in the third set.
Rende is a sophomore who'd been through this before. During the regular-season matchup, the exact same scenario unfolded — the match was tied at two sets, and he lost to Boustany. This time, Rende won the first four games of the third set and breezed to the victory.
"The same thing happened … in the regular season, so I was prepared," Rende said. "I was more determined."
Also on Thursday, Archbishop Spalding completed its perfect season with a 4-1 victory over Annapolis Area Christian School to win a second consecutive MIAA B Conference title.
Spalding (10-0) got two victories in singles where Ryan McFarland and Daniel Gaj won at Nos. 1 and 2. The Cavaliers won both doubles matches, with Benton Davis and Joey Henault capturing the title at No. 1, and Connor Strong and Alex Johnson taking the crown at No. 2.
Annapolis Area Christian School's lone victory came when Alonzo Mable won at No. 2 singles. The Eagles finished the season with a 9-2 record — both losses came against Spalding.