Justin Thai will try to make the most of the opportunity when the Hilliard Darby High School boys tennis team visits Hilliard Davidson in an OCC-Central Division match Tuesday.

Justin Thai will try to make the most of the opportunity when the Hilliard Darby High School boys tennis team visits Hilliard Davidson in an OCC-Central Division match Tuesday.

"This is going to be the pinnacle of our season," he said. "No matter what the sport is -- football, basketball or tennis -- everyone always looks forward to playing Davidson. It's going to be the ultimate test for us. We want to get the bragging rights for Hilliard."

The two schools last played two years ago, with the Wildcats winning 5-0. But now they're in the same OCC division and will meet annually, at least until the OCC realigns again.

"I think it's great," Davidson coach Shawn Walton said. "I like to take a look at how many kids we have playing and where they are with their game. It's not a rivalry for me at all. It's more of a backyard pickup game."

"Darby's a fairly young team but they have a lot of good player," said Jeremy Mokry, of Davidson. "It'll be a good match and we look forward to seeing them."

Before facing league-leader Upper Arlington last Tuesday, Davidson was 1-2 in the league with 10 points. Darby lost its first two league matches and earned just one point in the process. UA, in search of a 27th-consecutive league title, was 3-0 with 17 points.

"I believe from the top to the bottom, we have the strongest league in central Ohio," Darby coach Scott Nickel said.

"We have some of your more established programs with winning traditions in the Central District with Upper Arlington, Dublin Coffman and Worthington Kilbourne in there. I would definitely include Davidson in with that group.

"We have a tremendous amount of respect for Davidson's coaches and players. Our players are excited to play their sister school. It's a great opportunity for the guys in a competitive match that determines the outcome of the OCC."

ĽALSO -- Mokry and teammate Ben McClarren lost to Watterson's Chris Diaz and Philip Davis, the defending Division I state champions in doubles, 7-5, 6-2 in the doubles final at the Worthington Cup last Saturday at Kilbourne.

Their performance and a seventh-place finish by Stephen Valentine in singles allowed the Wildcats to take fifth with nine points behind Kilbourne (15), UA (11), Watterson (10) and Bexley (10).

"This is a great springboard for us," said McClarren, who normally plays second singles, with Mokry at third singles.

"There's a lot of great teams here and a lot of them are going to make it to the state tournament. That's our goal to be in the state tournament.

"My forehand was probably the best it has been all season and our returns were really good even though it was windy. Jeremy and I played a lot of doubles in the offseason so it wasn't that much of a switch."

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedules for Darby and Davidson boys tennis teams:


*April 21 -- Match vs. Dublin Coffman postponed. No makeup date has been announced.

*April 23 -- Lost to Thomas Worthington 5-0

*Last Monday -- Lost to Upper Arlington 5-0

*Last Tuesday -- Played Westland

Today -- At Marysville

*Monday -- At Central Crossing

*Tuesday -- At Davidson

May 7 -- Home vs. Ready

Of note: The Panthers were 2-5 overall and 0-3 in OCC-Central before last Tuesday.


*April 16 -- Lost to Thomas Worthington 3-2. Ben McClarren (second singles) and Jeremy Mokry (third singles) won.

April 18 -- Finished fourth (19) behind champion New Albany (27) at the eight-team Hilliard Doubles Classic. Stephen Valentine and Spencer Walter were second in the third flight.

April 20 -- Match at Columbus Academy postponed. It was rescheduled for May 12

*April 23 -- Lost to Coffman 3-2. McClarren (second singles) and Mokry (third singles) won.

Last Friday -- Lost to Bexley 4-1

Last Saturday -- Finished fifth (9) behind Worthington Kilbourne (15), UA (11), Bexley (10) and Watterson (10) in eight-team Worthington Cup

*Last Tuesday -- Played UA

Last Wednesday -- Played Watterson

Today -- Home vs. Pickerington North

*Friday -- Home vs. Kilbourne

Monday -- At St. Charles

*Tuesday -- Home vs. Darby

Wednesday -- At DeSales

Of note: The Wildcats were 4-3 overall and 1-2 in OCC-Central before last Tuesday.

*OCC-Central match