DENVER — Morgan Schilling is headed back to the No. 1 singles final at the Class 5A boys tennis state tournament.
Runner-up a year ago to two-time champion Christian Holmes of Chatfield, Schilling, a junior from Regis Jesuit, said he felt a difference between that tournament and this year's event.
"I feel more experienced, more mature, more ready for the crowds and the cheering," Schilling said. "I think last year, I came in with not really with great belief against Christian. I was always scared of him. He was always pretty intimidating. This year, I'm more confident."
It showed. Schilling beat Greeley West freshman Nico Jamison 6-1, 6-0 in Friday morning's semifinals to return to the championship match. It was a rematch of a match they played just a week earlier at regionals, which Schilling won 7-5, 6-2.
"This match, I was dictating way more," Schilling said. "I was stepping in, and I didn't miss as much as I did last week. So I just wanted to go into a mode where I was not missing. It was working."
Schilling will face Fairview junior Luke Silverman in the championship match.
Silverman, who reached the quarterfinals last season, beat Cherry Creek junior George Cavo 6-1, 6-4 in his semifinal.
"I played really well in the first set, and then we both got a little bit tight in the second, but I still played really well," Silverman said.
That match was also a rematch. Cavo had beat Silverman 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-4 in August.
But this time around, Silverman got a great start in the first help, and it helped to spark the win.
"Everything felt pretty good. I was returning well, volleying really well," Silverman said.
Silverman and Schilling have already played this season, in the semifinals of the Cherry Creek Invite on Sept. 14. Schilling won that match, 6-0, 6-4.
"It'll be a fun match," His game is pretty solid. I've seen him play a bunch of times. I'll have to do my best.
Both players said they're looking forward to a great atmosphere on Center Court at Gates Tennis Center.
"It's great, it's different than pretty much everything else," Silverman said. "You have the whole team cheering for you."
Added Schilling: "It's an amazing atmosphere on the Center Court with everyone watching and cheering, so I'm just excited."
The bulk of the playback brackets were halted when a rainstorm strode through the Denver metro area, causing play to be delayed entirely by two hours.
When play did resume, it did so quickly. Playback results rapidly came in, and it impacted the team race, which will come down to the final day. Regis Jesuit and Cherry Creek were tied late into Friday's action, and Regis Jesuit inched ahead late to hold a slim 67-64 lead.
Both teams have a number of matches yet to play, including four head-to-head matchups in championship finals. Each school is in five total championship matches on Saturday, and one third-place match.
All finals and third-place matches begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday at Gates Tennis Center.