Ask Gilman tennis coach Jim Busick what's behind his Greyhounds' undefeated season, and he will come back with the simple facts.
"When you win one, two, three [singles], you win every match," he said.
That has been the case all season, and it was no different at yesterday's Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland's A Conference team championship. The Greyhounds, not yielding a set in singles competition to lead the way, came away with their second title in three years with a 4-1 win over visiting McDonogh.
Senior Amir Zamani set the tone at No. 1 singles, taking a 6-1, 6-4 win over McDonogh junior Steve Hallock.
Zamani, headed for Stanford University next fall, played mistake-free tennis, displaying a complete game.
In the opening set, he served and volleyed especially well. But when Hallock did a better job returning serve in the second set to build a 4-1 lead, Zamani stayed back at the baseline and pounded out a 6-4 win.
"I started out aggressive -- serve and volley in the first set," Zamani said. "But he started hitting some strong returns in the second set to take a 4-1 lead, so I stayed back more. I thought I was a little quicker and consistent."
Justin Rofel started strong and then hung on for a 6-0, 7-5 win over McDonogh's Nithin Jayadeva at No. 2 singles, and Mike Fisher gave up only three games in a straight-sets win over Amadi Nze to complete another singles sweep.
The Gilman trio hasn't given up a set all season.
"It's a rarity," Busick said. "It just doesn't happen very often, especially at No. 1. Teams always have a good No. 1 player. Amir has been so consistent. He's aggressive -- likes to get to the net whenever possible."
In the teams' regular-season meeting, McDonogh won both doubles matches, but Gilman battled to get a split yesterday.
Gilman's Rohit Rao and Art Aglubat teamed to beat Mike Gordon and Tom Williams, 6-3, 6-4, at No. 1 doubles.
McDonogh's No. 2 doubles pair -- Aaron Szabo and Chat Razdan -- closed out the afternoon with a 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 win over Peter Ahn and Amal Narang.
Gilman still has work to do to catch up with McDonogh's dominance in boys tennis. Since 1987, the Eagles have won 11 of 14 IAAM titles (previously Catholic League), with the Greyhounds capturing the other three crowns in 1991, 1998 and yesterday.
"There's a lot of parity and a lot of good kids coming out, and that's good thing for tennis in Baltimore," said McDonogh coach Laddie Levy.