Getting under Hunter Oothoudt's skin can backfire very quickly.
Bismarck High School's No. 1 doubles team - junior Jared Spooner and sophomore Willie Ulness - frustrated the MHS senior in the first set of the most heated match of Tuesday's West Region dual at Magic City Campus.
Spooner and Ulness dominated Oothoudt and sophomore Dustin Foster 6-1 in the first set, eliciting a few outbursts from the top Magician.
Minot High School sophomore Dustin Foster hits a shot against Bismarck High senior Austin Meuchel on Tuesday at Magic City Campus. Meuchel won the match, but Foster paired with senior Hunter Oothoudt for a No. 1 doubles win later in a 6-3 MHS team victory.
An ornery Oothoudt morphed into a racket-wielding monster in a 6-0 second-set win followed by a 6-3 third set, which had the Demons stumped.
MHS (5-0 region) took four of the six singles matches in the 6-3 team win, but Outhoudt saw his teammates at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles also struggling in their first sets.
"I was like, 'Dustin, we gotta pick it up. I don't want to lose,' " Oothoudt said.
Oothoudt won his last five service games in the match and finished BHS with two serves the Demons failed to return.
"I showed a little bit (of anger), which I try not doing," he said. "It gets to me, but I just kind of tell myself, I don't want to look like a bad person out there, so I put it towards my tennis and fix my shots and make the adjustments."
The No. 3 team of seniors Jordin Gardner and Peter Wilson clinched the MHS team win with a 7-5, 6-4 victory over BHS senior Andrew Krecklau and sophomore David Keys.
The No. 1 match lasted another 20 minutes and remained intense despite the dual having been decided. Oothoudt and Spooner exchanged words following disputed calls on both ends.
"Any time Hunter's on the court and Jared Spooner from Bismarck High, you know there's gonna be some intensity," MHS coach Scott DeLorme said. "So any time you have competitors on the court you're gonna get some yelling and some screaming from time to time. Luckily, Hunter and Dustin were really able to bounce back after that first set."
Spooner noticed his team's intensity level dropped after the quick first set.
"They came out swinging and they hit some good shots," he said. "Overall, that's a good battle. You can't do much about that. They're a good team."
Both teams agreed that the dual could have gone either way with BHS in all three doubles matches. The Demons (3-1) entered Tuesday as the only other unbeaten in the region.
"That's the fun thing about doubles is it kind of creates that atmosphere of the team more and not just the invididual," BHS coach Justin Zainhofsky said, "and you kind of get the rivalry going and a little bit more of commotion, which is great."
MHS will play three East Region schools on Friday, beginning with Fargo North at 10 a.m.