RALEIGH — Just when they seemed to be all but out of it, Millbrook freshmen Austin Cobb and Logan Weber dug deep, realizing that their teams chances at a state championship appearance rested with them.
The Millbrook doubles team mounted an incredible comeback Wednesday, winning six straight games for an 11-9 victory over Broughtons Taylor Boole and Campbell Stone to secure the Wildcats 5-4 N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 4A dual-team east regional finals win over their Cap Eight rival.
To watch two guys we put confidence in all year not let a situation like that get to them is really impressive, Millbrook coach Scott Wofford said. I was certain that they were going to bring it back at least closer because weve seen that a couple times this year. Once they found that little spot of confidence, they never gave it back up. Its impressive that it came from a couple freshmen, but its not when youve watched them the entire season and they keep doing it over and over.
The teams finished singles play with an even split. Millbrook won Nos. 1-3, while Broughton took Nos. 4-6.
With Millbrooks Chris Mahan and John Karlawish defeating Broughtons Andrew Waddell and Patrick Longest 10-6, and Broughtons Carlton Bunn and Blais Waters defeating Millbrooks Michael and Matthew Moody 10-6, all eyes were on court two for the deciding doubles match.
We just knew the team relied on us and that they needed us and it was pretty much win or go home, so we knew we had to get the win, Cobb said.
Cobb and Weber went up 5-4 before giving up five consecutive games to fall behind.
The duo tried to stay positive despite the deficit they faced. One more won game by Broughton would have ended Millbrooks season.
At 5-9 we really turned it on on the returns, Weber said. We made a ton of returns back across court and then they got a little tight and got a little nervous, and we stayed loose and that was key.
Once they knotted it at 9-all, Cobb said, it was important that they didnt get caught up in the comeback and stayed focused on winning two more games to close the match.
They did just that.
Broughton coach Bill White said that while the Millbrook duo earned the win, he didnt think that Boole and Stone did anything wrong or make errors down the stretch.
The Caps finished the season 21-3.
We had a great season, but of course we would have liked to go another step, White said. Im firmly convinced that three of the top four teams in the state are in the Cap Eight. Its probably helpful for each team because we push each other.
Wakefield, which ended the regular season in a three-way tie with Millbrook and Broughton for first place in the conference, lost to Broughton in the quarterfinals on Monday.
Wednesdays playoff match coming down to the wire wasnt a surprise with Broughton and Millbrook ranked No. 2 and 3 in the state, respectively.
The teams split their regular season meetings during conference play.
Millbrook (18-3) will go on to face west regional winner Winston-Salem R.J. Reynolds (20-4) for the state championship Saturday at Burlington Parks and Recreation Tennis Center.
Reynolds doubles team of Jack Riazzi and Paul Yamane topped Millbrooks Mahan and Karlawish last weekend for the NCHSAA 4A individual doubles title. Reynolds has won the 4A dual-team title the past three years.
The last time Reynolds lost a state championship it was at the hands of Millbrook in 2009.