MOUNT PLEASANT - Bishop England had the perfect lineup ready for archrival Waccamaw. But then Paul Hendrix showed up for Wednesday's SCHSL Class A-AA boys tennis lower state final.
All the plans for the Bishops fell apart as the Waccamaw freshman star's insertion into the No. 1 singles slot pushed everyone down a notch. And the perfect matchup was off as Waccamaw (12-5) cruised to a 4-1 win over the Bishops (13-3) at Creekside Tennis and Swim.
It marked the 12th consecutive year that the Pawleys Island school ended Bishop England's season in the state playoffs.
The two teams had split a pair of regular season matches in which 2013 Class A-AA singles champion Hendrix didn't participate. But the one time when the entire season was on the line, Hendrix played his only match of the season for the Warriors.
"That's the first time he (Hendrix) has played all season," first-year Waccamaw coach Lynn Hunt confirmed.
Hendrix was too consistent for the Bishops' Lukas Zalesky, posting a 6-1, 6-2 victory at No. 1 over the hard-hitting senior who was forced into too many errors. That set up a domino effect that was broken only at No. 2 singles where BE senior Noah Stiepel outlasted everyone on the courts, including Waccamaw junior Justin Dunn.
With all of the other singles matches going to Waccamaw in straight sets, Stiepel was the last man standing in a 6-4, 3-6, 10-6 win over Dunn. But Waccamaw senior Joey Hewes had just finished off a 6-2, 7-5 victory over BE junior Jeffrey Jones at No. 3 singles that canceled out any plans for doubles and clinched the Warriors' berth in Saturday's state final.
"We played extremely well," second-year BE coach Kristin Fleming said. "It was a hard-fought match, and we just came up short. They're a good team.
"I knew Paul (Hendrix) would play, and that changed the dynamic of the match. Lukas and Noah had each gone 2-0 against them in the regular season."
WACCAMAW 4, BISHOP ENGLAND 1
SINGLES: Paul Hendrix (W) def. Lukas Zalesky, 6-1, 6-2; Noah Stiepel (BE) def. Justin Dunn, 6-4, 3-6, 10-6; Joey Hewes (W) def. Jeffrey Jones, 6-2, 7-5; Ben Hewes (W) def. Jake Meyer, 6-3, 6-3; Jaz Greene (W) def. Thomas Sottile, 6-1, 6-0.
Reach James Beck at email@example.com. See his columns on pro tennis at ubitennis.com/english.