By RICK PETERSON
Topeka West tennis standouts Ian and Miles Cusick faced off against a familiar foe in Monday's Centennial League doubles final, taking on Emporia's Brenden Kienholz and Taylor Moorman for the second time in three days.
But the Cusick twins were.up to the challenge, surviving a Spartan rally to claim the league title with an 8-6 victory to lead city-champion West to a second-place team finish behind Manhattan, which won its sixth straight championship.
Ian and Miles Cusick, who had taken an 8-4 win over Emporia on Saturday in the finals of the Emporia tournament, jumped in front 4-1 Monday but Keinholz and Moorman were down just 7-6 before the Chargers closed out the win.
"I think (Emporia) played extremely well today,'' Miles Cusick said. "It was a tough match, especially seeing them two days ago. I think we both tried not to take that for granted that we beat them last time.''
"(Emporia) really stepped it up in the second half (of the match),'' Ian Cusick added. "Those close matches are hard and it's really good that we can win close matches going forward.''
Topeka West sophomore singles player Carter Cool also advanced to the Centennial League final before dropping an 8-0 decision to Manhattan senior star Daniel Harkin while West freshman James Maag claimed fifth place in singles with an 8-6 win over Seaman junior Justin Kruse.
"I was happy with our performance,'' Topeka West coach Kurt Davids said. "We had a couple of little hiccups in pool play and things didn't go the way we wanted, but we finished the day strong and that was a key for us.
"I think we played overall better than we did at city. We talked about peaking at the right time and I think we're still on the upward trend there.''
In addition to Harkin's singles crown, Manhattan also got a third-place singles finish from Jon Grove and third and fourth-place doubles finishes from the teams of Luke Craft and Kelton Poole and Dil Ranaweera and Jackson Ivester en route to a 90-81 margin over the Chargers.
Washburn Rural finished third as a team as junior Kyler Knudtson finished third in singles, dropping an 8-2 decision to Manhattan's Grove in the third-place single match, while Junior Blue junior Nick Luetje and sophomore Mason Casebeer took an 8-6 victory over junior teammates Jiyoon Park and Zach Willingham in the fifth-place doubles match.
Manhattan 90, Topeka West 81, Washburn Rural 74, Hayden 50, Emporia 47, Junction City 44, Topeka High 42, Seaman 40, Highland Park 25.
Championship:Harkin, Manhattan, def. Cool, Topeka West, 8-0.
Third: Grove, Manhattan, def. Knudtson, Washburn Rural, 8-6.
Fifth: Maag, Topeka West, def. Kruse, Seaman, 8-5=6.
Championship: Ian Cusick/Miles Cusick, Topeka West, def. Kienholz/Moorman, Emporia, 8-6.
Third: Craft/Pope, Manhattan, def. Ronaweera/Invester, Manhattan, 8-4.
Fifth: Luetje/Casebeer, Washburn Rural, def, Park/Williamson, Washburn Rural, 8-6.