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Irene Antony, Andrea Park ensure Half Hollow Hills’ badminton title

Half Hollow Hills' Irene Antony with the backhand

Half Hollow Hills' Irene Antony with the backhand return in the fourth doubles match against Commack's Hannah Kolber and Sam Jack at of the girls team championships on Tuesday, May 17, 2016. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

After the first doubles match concluded at Tuesday’s Suffolk girls badminton team championships, all attention shifted to Court 1, where the fourth doubles match was starting its third set which, by the end, Half Hollow Hills was the champion.

Top-seeded Commack and second-seeded Hills were tied, 4-4, at Suffolk County Community College in Selden with just one set remaining between the Cougars’ Hannah Kolber and Sam Sack and the Thundercolts’ Irene Antony and Andrea Park.

Commack had taken the first set, 17 points to 15. Hills bounced back to take the second, 17-14. And with the third set looming, Antony and Park buckled down.

“We had to keep it simple,” Antony said. “We played like this in practice a lot of times and we had to remember that, despite all the pressure, we can do it.”

They led 9-2 before Commack closed to 11-8, but Antony and Park finished out the set 15-8 and that gave Hills a 5-4 win in the tournament. Both teams finished 16-2 on the season.

The duo played seamlessly despite pairing for the first time the day before in the semifinals. With both of their usual partners not competing, Antony and Park had to get on the same page.

“It was hard at first, but we discussed what we did with each of our partners and just combined it,” Park said.

Kara Rofe won at second singles over Andrianna Kaimis, and Hills coach Bill Davey said it was a turning point. Rofe had lost to Kaimis twice this season, yet she was able to win in straight sets, 11-7, 11-5.

“Once I was playing her, I realized that moving from the front to the left backside was her weakness, so I just kept doing that,” Rofe said.

Connie He, Vinnie Zhang and Lyndsey Delouya won at first, third and fifth singles, respectively, for Hills. Antony and Park were Hills’ only win in doubles competition, but it was the one that counted most.

Lindenhurst boys win county title

Lindenhurst (14-4) surprised previously undefeated Half Hollow Hills (17-1) at the boys’ team championships with a 6-3 victory on the strength of a strong performance at first singles by Will Flohr. Flohr defeated Alden Lee, 15-3, 15-12, and said that the Bulldogs’ strength was their versatility.

“We switched our lineup a little bit to show the versatility in our team,” he said. “It worked out for us.”

Jon Meyer, Shuarya Patel and Matt Ciecka won at second, fourth and fifth singles, respectively, for the Bulldogs. Branden McIntosh and Nick Negron won at second doubles, while Tom Renick and Dean Pereira won at fourth doubles.

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