While their best player was being taken to the limit in a tough three-game match on Court 1, the rest of Mountain Pointe’s loaded roster paved the way for another state title.
The second-seeded Pride knocked off No. 1 Horizon, 5-1, Thursday night at Dobson High, winning their fourth 5A state badminton championship in the last eight seasons.
"I would definitely say it’s a perfect season," Mountain Pointe coach Kevin Quick said. "They’re just a special group."
Two of the state’s best players — Mountain Pointe’s Carissa Guthrie and Bri Chapin of Horizon — were the centerpiece of a matchup pitting the tournament’s top two seeds, with Chapin winning back-to-back games by 11-8 scores after falling 13-12 in the first game.
But it was the dominance of Kristi Jamison, Rudi O’Keefe Zelman and Ashley Dreas — playing in the third, fifth and sixth positions, respectively, for the Pride — that sealed the victory for Mountain Pointe.
Quick said Jamison’s victory was the key to his team’s shot at the title.
"I know Kristi can play a great game, but sometimes, when we play against good teams, she came up on the short end of the stick," Quick said.
But Jamison didn’t come up short this time, rolling in her match against Horizon’s Meg Burghardt 11-5, 11-2.
"I just went out there and had fun," Jamison said. "(Quick) told me to do that and I did."
But the championship trophy could have been headed to Scottsdale instead of Ahwatukee Foothills if Horizon had won just one more match, Chapin said.
"I think that we would have taken it if we had one more win in singles to get to doubles," Chapin said.
Doubles matches aren’t played if a team reaches five wins in singles play.
Chapin and doubles teammate Torrie Frazier are among the favorites to win the doubles competition at the 5A individual state championships this weekend at Dobson.
Horizon’s doubles team of Ali Tigges and Meg Burghardt are also competing in the 5A individual tournament, while Guthrie and teammate Alexandra Elston hit the court in the singles bracket.