For the first time all season, the usually dominant Hilton Head Island High School girls tennis team trotted out its No. 1 doubles tandem Thursday in the Lower State final against Myrtle Beach.
But, as is normally the case, the duo's presence wasn't even necessary.
With the Seahawks up by one and a berth in Saturday's state championship on the line, No. 3 singles standout Logan Danzell rallied from a set down to win in a tiebreaker over Myrtle Beach's Carolyn Gore, giving Hilton Head High a 5-2 win, and making the doubles match on the court next to her for naught. The win propels Hilton Head High to yet another berth in the Class 3-A state championship game.
"She looked left and right down the line," coach Jennifer Weitekamper said. "She knew it was going to be on her shoulders. Logan's one of my few who, under that kind of pressure, breaks a little but pulls it right back together.
"We were counting on Logan. It's her's this time, as a senior and as a multiple state ring holder."
Danzell dropped her first set 3-6 after discovering Gore played a similar style to her own, particularly with her drop shots. But with her teammates looking on from beyond the fence, the savvy veteran regrouped to claim the next two sets, 6-4, 10-3.
As she left the court, hugs and kisses from her coaches and teammates were there waiting for her.
"I'm still in the moment," she said afterward. "I don't know. I'm lucky my team was supporting me through the whole game."
As the team celebrated, the No. 1 doubles combination of Brooke Busby and Emma Stanton cruised, 8-0, to put the exclamation point on what was the team's most challenging match to date.
"Obviously there's a lot of pressure, because everybody assumes we're going to win (state) this year, too," Busby said. "It's nice to be part of a winning team, it gives us something to be proud of."
Myrtle Beach (18-4) was left lamenting what could have been, as the group entered the Lower State final without the services of its No. 1 singles star, Jessie Dumas, who was out with shingles, which ultimately forced everyone else up a spot.
"It would have been a little bit different," coach Jeri Himmelsbach said. "I wonder, I wonder. But I wish them well, they're a good team. We'll cheer for the Seahawks."
Hilton Head High (17-2) took advantage of Dumas' absence with dominating victories in Nos. 1 and 2 singles. Busby knocked off Rachel Berkey 6-0, 6-1, whie eighth-grader Jennifer Oliver shut out Emma Springs 6-0, 6-0.
But Myrtle Beach bounced back with wins in No. 5 singles and No. 2 doubles, turning the focus to Danzell and Gore.
Danzell answered the call, ultimately giving the Seahawks a shot at a whopping sixth consecutive state title. Hilton Head High now travels to Columbia, where it will face off against Clinton or A.C. Flora at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Cayce Tennis and Fitness Center.
"These girls aren't state champions yet," Weitekamper said. "They're holding a title that they have to hold up to. But it's looking good."
Hilton Head High 5, Myrtle Beach 2
Singles -- No. 1 Brooke Busby (HHH) d. Rachel Berkey 6-0, 6-1; No. 2 Jennifer Oliver (HHH) d. Emma Springs 6-0, 6-0; No. 3 Logan Danzell (HHH) d. Carolyn Gore 3-6, 6-4, 10-3; No. 4 Kate Cram (HHH) d. Elisabeth Spielvogel 6-1, 6-1; No. 5 Bailey Beskins (MB) d. Emma Stanton 6-4, 6-2.
Doubles --- No. 1 Brooke Busby/Kate Cram (HHH) d. Rachel Berkey/Emma Springs 8-0; No. 2 Catherine Truluck/Katharine Woodard (MB) d. Nicole Diaz/Tessa Jansen 7-5, 6-1.