The end came abruptly but fittingly.
Mountain Pointe won the team state badminton title on Thursday when the doubles team of Geneva Heinkel and Sabrina Martinez finished off their Xavier counterparts to secure the championship.
Martinez and Heinkel have been together all four years of high school, improving and dreaming, of bringing the program its first team title since 2007.
And after the shuttlecock hit the floor at Sunnyslope High it gave Mountain Pointe a 5-2 advantage in match meaning the Gators could not defend their title so the other matches stopped, awarding the title to the Pride.
“It was good the seniors won it,” Pride coach Pom Brown said. “They deserved to be the one who did it. They’ve been with us a long time and got a lot better in helping us win it.”
Second-seeded Mountain Pointe finished off an undefeated season and came through on their own expectations of winning the title that were heightened in the regular season by easily handling the top-seeded Gators.
“When we beat them like that (8-1) we knew could do it,” Heinkel said. “Our coach told us we had a chance to do something special and we were able to get it done.”
The Pride had to only win one of three doubles matches in order to secure the victory after they won four of the six singles matches.
Juniors Kiyoko Hashimoto, Vi Koka and Heinkel won in singles easily in the first, second and fourth positions, respectively. Martinez won as well, but had to come back to defeat Natalie Chapin.
Martinez lost the first match 11-5, but refocused to secure the win 11-8 and 11-5.
“I was looking at some of the other matches around me and knew I had to win,” she said. “I let my nerves get to me. I usually don’t do that. I’m usually the one who is laid back, but the crowd and the importance of the match got to me.
“I was surprised, but I settled down in the second game. It was important because it took some of the pressure off the doubles matches.”
Brown said she knew this match wasn’t going to be as easy as the regular season match.
“Xavier is always stronger at the end,” said Brown, who has also two state runner-up finishes in her coaching career. “They were going to fight us, but we played well.”
The other team members were Larae Keso and Tegan Wambold as the total team effort led to the program’s eighth state championship.
“What a great way to finish your career,” said Heinkel, who won the doubles state title with Martinez in the individual tournament last weekend. “We wanted to go out with a bang and that’s what we did.”
Martinez said when they had a big lead in the final match of their careers they got a little sentimental.
“We told each other how much we enjoyed playing with each other,” Martinez said. “We touched (rackets) and finished the match. It was pretty cool it worked out that way.”
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