Unbeaten Porter-Gaud moved to within one win of a second straight Class AAA SCISA boys tennis state title Wednesday afternoon at the Cyclones’ court with a 5-2 win over Hilton Head Christian (7-6).
Standing between the Cyclones (14-0) and a 14th state title in the last 19 seasons is Hilton Head Prep, the third Region III power in the Porter-Gaud/Hilton Head Island triangle, in a Friday or Monday title match at a site to be announced.
Playing without University of South Carolina-bound senior No. 1 Andrew Schafer, Hilton Head Prep scored a 6-0 decision over previously unbeaten Wilson Hall in Wednesday’s other state semifinal. Schafer is playing in a satellite pro tournament in Vero Beach, Fla., and may not be available on Friday.
Foster Moe and Cross Tolliver clinched the win for the Cyclones by romping to a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Alex Lykins and Cameron Clark at No. 3 doubles. The other two doubles matches stopped when Moe and Tolliver wrapped up the win.
Connor Grady sent the Cyclones into doubles with a 4-2 edge by rallying from a match point in the second set to win 2-6, 7-5, 10-6 at No. 4 singles over Lykins, who held match point at 5-3 in the second set.
No. 1 Thomas Spratt, Brant Fenno at No. 5 and Moe at No. 6 yielded a total of only four games in singles to give the Cyclones a quick 3-0 lead. Spratt had lost to Hilton Head Christian’s Hampton Drake in straight sets on the same court in the regular season, but this time the nation’s fifth-ranked boys 16 player was hampered by a wrist injury and was no match for the 6-6 Porter-Gaud star.
“I think we have a good shot at winning the state title,” Spratt said, pointing to the Cyclones’ 6-3 and 5-4 wins over Hilton Head Prep in the regular season when Schafer played both matches against the Cyclones.
Veteran Porter-Gaud coach Tom Higgins knew it already was a good season with a sweep thus far of the two Hilton Head powers. “Ill take a sweep of Hilton Head all day,” said Higgins, who is looking for his seventh state title in 11 years as head coach.
PORTER-GAUD 5, HILTON HEAD CHRISTIAN 2
SINGLES: Thomas Spratt (PG) def. Hampton Drake, 6-0, 6-0; Charlie Drake (HHC) def. Seth Pinosky, 6-3, 6-4; Ben Lykins (HHC) def. Payne Hoy, 6-3, 6-1; Connor Grady (PG) def. Alex Lykins, 2-6, 7-5, 10-6; Brant Fenno (PG) def. Cameron Clark, 6-1, 6-2; Foster Moe (PG) def. Walker Wood, 6-1, 6-0.
DOUBLES: Cross Tolliver/Moe (PG) def. A. Lykins/Clark, 6-0, 6-1.
Reach James Beck at email@example.com. See his columns on pro tennis at ubitennis.com/english.