LEWISTON – In their fourth attempt in four years, the boys of Scarborough High finally broke through.

Senior Dennis Liu leaped over the net and lifted teammate Alex Henny in a bearhug after Henny’s victory at No. 1 singles clinched a long-awaited Western Class A boys’ tennis title for the Red Storm.

“As seniors, you want to move on,” said Liu, who started the ball rolling with a 6-0, 6-1 victory at No. 2 singles.

Second-seeded Scarborough rallied from one match down to No. 1 Kennebunk by winning a close battle at second doubles, then wrapped up the title 3-2 thanks to Henny’s 6-1, 7-5 victory over Charlie Merry of Kennebunk.

Scarborough’s girls also came up big Wednesday morning at the Wallach Tennis Center at Bates College. Seeded fourth, the Red Storm (12-3) defeated defending regional champion Gorham, the third seed, 4-1.

In May, both Scarborough teams lost to their Monday opponents. The boys lost 3-2 to Kennebunk two weeks ago and the girls 4-1 to Gorham a month ago.

“We were the underdogs, so we really didn’t have anything to lose,” said Scarborough senior Courtney Hughes, who teamed with sophomore Maria Philbrick for a 6-4, 6-2 victory at first doubles. “We just took that attitude out to the court.”

Scarborough’s boys and girls will play Eastern champion Lewiston for the state championship Saturday at Colby College in Waterville.

“They outplayed us,” said Gorham Coach Sonja Frey, who is stepping down after 25 years in order to care for her 92-year-old mother in Missouri. “Their doubles players were more active. But I bet we made 725 unforced errors across the board.”

The only victory for Gorham (12-3) came at No. 1 singles after Scarborough already had swept doubles and won one of the other singles matches. Scarborough senior Jenna Posey split sets at No. 1 with Gorham senior Natalie Egbert before Egbert won a match tiebreaker, agreed upon because the overall match had been decided, 4-6, 6-1, 10-5.

Scarborough juniors Fernanda Delboni (6-2, 6-3) and Rachel Webber (6-4, 6-2) won at No. 2 and No. 3 singles. Senior teammates Christina Bilodeau and Laura Flewelling won 6-2, 6-4 at second doubles.

“These girls have been working very hard and they really stepped it up a notch over the last four weeks,” said Scarborough Coach Lincoln MacIsaac, whose team beat No. 1 Cheverus in the regional semifinals. “Part of it is a confidence factor in their own games. They started to believe we can do this.”

The boys’ match turned at second doubles, where Scarborough juniors Dan Slavin and Zach Pelczar won 7-5, 7-6 (8-6) over Kennebunk’s Matt Pearson and Nat Skillin.

Slavin and Pelczar finally converted their third match point to tie the overall match at 2-all.

After jumping out to a 5-1 lead in the opening set, Slavin and Pelczar hung on to win, then wasted two match points up 6-5 in the second set.

“So when the tiebreaker came on,” Slavin said, “it was a little more nervous than we were planning for.”

Kennebunk won at No. 3 singles (Josh Behrens 6-1, 7-5) and first doubles (Christian Elkington and Sam Hickson 6-0, 6-4). In the deciding match at No. 1 singles, Henny led 5-3 in the second set before Kennebunk’s Merry rallied to tie at 5-all.

“He came back and it looked like he had the momentum,” Henny said. “I just tried to not let myself get moved around a lot because of the heat and I tried to hit to his backhand.”

After Henny held serve to close out the victory, Liu rushed the court.

“Nice job,” Liu said. “We’re going to the state championship.” 

Staff Writer Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at:

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