TAMPA — For the second time in 26 seasons, Charles Roberts has guided the Hillsborough boys into the playoffs.
Hillsborough hit enough winners to knock off defending Class 3A state champion Wharton on Wednesday on its home courts at Hunter's Green Country Club for a one-point team victory.
"We were leading by points so all they had to do was come out and play," Roberts said. "All we needed was one."
The match came down to the doubles finals with Hillsborough leading by a point. Wharton needed to win on both courts. The match was decided when Hillsborough's No. 2 team of Jay Mendoza and Brian Kowalski defeated Ben Hwang and Bryant Fuller 6-2, 6-3.
Hillsborough's win in doubles erased a tough morning. Wharton had earned wins at Nos. 1, 2 and 3 singles thanks to Michael Alford, Hwang and Rohit Navelkar. But the Wildcats lost key matches at No. 4 and No. 5 singles.
The Plant girls earned their first district tournament win in recent memory with a six-point victory over Chamberlain.
The Panthers led by a point entering the second day and went on to win four of five singles positions with No. 1 Amber Li defeating Chamberlain's Jennifer Miller (7-5, 6-3), No. 3 Claire Andrews defeating Chamberlain's McKenzie O'Brien (6-0, 6-4), No. 4 Morgan Nolan beating Chamberlain's Ashima Singh (6-0, 6-2), and No. 5 Brooke Josepher defeating Freedom's Taylor Wiseman (6-3, 6-4).
"That was huge for us," Plant coach Lynn Vu said. "… This is my sixth year coaching and this is my first (district title)."