At a critical point in Saturday's State 3A girls' doubles championship match, Community School tennis coach Mark Scribner went to the fence in a changeover to talk to his girls.
"Come here, guys, let's go over this one more time," said Scribner to junior Devon Bunce and sophomore Mandy Alexander. The girls, state champions last year with other partners, listened attentively.
What did he say?
In general, Scribner recalled, "You present the facts. You've got just 20 seconds in the changeover—so you say, this is what we're going to do and this is how we're going to get it done. I've given them the answers to their questions, and it's up to them to put it down."
Bunce and Alexander did.
Leading 3-1 in the third set against a good Parma pair, sophomores Logan Smyser and Mckinzie Timmons, Alexander had to hold serve or let the Panthers back into the match. To Scribner, and to the girls, that scenario just wasn't an option.
Alexander, a tiny dynamo with a powerful forehand, went to the serving line. Her partner Bunce, a tall lefty with a deadly reach at the net, slammed the first point away. Alexander made it 30-0 with a well-placed lob. After a frustrating double fault, Alexander rifled an ace for a winner. Bunce finished it off with another kill at the net.
One more step to success.
That gave the Cutthroats a 4-1 lead, and they broke Parma's serve on two crisp backhands by Alexander. The rest was academic—the Cutthroat girls won 6-4, 5-7, 6-2 to finish off an overwhelming state championship effort for Scribner's kids.
Remarkably, it was the first-ever state girls' doubles title for The Community School—an Idaho small-school dynasty that now boasts 17 state titlists in 21 years of taking teams to state.
Bunce and Alexander weren't alone as Cutthroat state champions at Boise's Timberline High School last weekend. Senior Tyler Martin repeated as Idaho 3A boys' singles king. Sun Valley also got a surprise title from the boys' doubles pair of Wes Flanigan and Christian Cairncross.
The dominating weekend was truly "one more time," at the fence for ninth-year coach Scribner, whose Cutthroats piled up the highest state tournament point total in his reign for a 108-73 victory over Parma.
Scribner is leaving Ketchum after nearly 25 years to build his own tennis courts and take over a high school program at Leavenworth, Wash. on the east slope of the Cascades. He'll leave behind a rich history of tennis success at the Sun Valley independent school.
With its 35-point team victory Saturday, the Cutthroats have now won four state team championships in five years. In Scribner's nine years at the helm, the team has finished first or second at state eight times. The Cutthroats have averaged 73.9 points in each state tournament for Scribner.
"I'll miss it and I'll miss the kids," said Scribner. The coach said the 17 members of the state championship team decided to ride home on the bus together Saturday evening and take their allotted two minutes savoring the first-place trophy.
He added, "They realized they won it and it was because everybody tried. To be the best at something is sort of cool. When you're young, sometimes you don't realize that. I think they did. They realized they won because they worked for it. And the record shows we've done it year after year."
The Cutthroats played great in Scribner's swan song.
Tyler Martin surpassed his older brother Chancey (1997 boys' singles king) by winning his second straight championship with four straight-set wins. Martin lost only eight games out of 56 he played and whipped Homedale junior Brett Hopkins 6-2, 6-4 in the final.
Bunce and Alexander were nearly as dominant in girls' doubles, although they dropped the middle game of the split-set championship match Saturday.
Scribner said he knew that Flanigan and Cairncross had all the tools to succeed, but even the Cutthroat maestro was a tad surprised at how the junior/sophomore pair rolled over the competition with four straight-set victories in Boise.
In girls' singles, Caitlin Cairncross was playing some of the best tennis of her life in the championship against two-time defending state champion Caity Jones of Homedale—but Cairncross turned her ankle and had to withdraw on injury default. She finished a strong second.
Junior Scooter Sabel settled for third place in boys' singles, and the mixed double tandem of J.P. McNeal and Jessie Curran were fourth in mixed.
For more complete state tennis results and outcomes for all Community School players, who won 30 of their 44 matches last weekend, check complete results page on this week's Express Web site:
Final team totals
1—Community School (17) 108 points—fourth state title in five years. 2—Parma (15) 73 points. 3—Homedale (8) 50 points. 4—Clark Fork (9) 37 points. 5—Fruitland (8) 33 points.
Points by category
(108)—Community School: 32 BS, 19 GS, 23 BD, 21 GD, 13 MD=108. Placements: 1st—BS, BD, GD. 2nd—GS. 3rd—BS. 4th—MD.
Notes: The Cutthroats have finished first or second at state in eight of the last nine state meets. Average point total at state in those nine years, including 2005, has been 73.9 points.
(73)—Parma: 9 BS, 9 GS, 15 BD, 19 GD, 21 MD=73. Placements: 1st—MD. 2nd—GD. 3rd—BD. 4th—BS, GS.
(50)—Homedale 16 BS, 20 GS, 4 BD, 9 GD, 1 MD=50. Placements: 1st—GS. 2nd—BS. 4th—GD.
Championship—Tyler Martin (CS senior) 6-2, 6-4 over Brett Hopkins (Homedale junior).
Third place—Scooter Sabel (CS junior) 6-2, 6-1 over Trent Timmons (Parma junior).
Championship—Caity Jones (Homedale senior, two-time defending champ) 7-5, 1-0 (injury default) over Caitlin Cairncross (CS senior).
Third place—Rayna Allen (Clark Fork sophomore) 6-2, 6-1 over Amber Edwards (Parma junior).
Championship—Wes Flanigan-Christian Cairncross (CS junior, sophomore) 6-3, 6-0 over Nathan Allen-Kyle Dishaw (Clark Fork seniors).
Third place—Nick Padilla-Trent Weber (Parma senior, junior) 6-3, 6-4 over Brian Lewis-Zach Torres (Fruitland seniors).
Championship—Devon Bunce-Mandy Alexander (CS junior, sophomore) 6-4, 5-7, 6-2 over Logan Smyser-Mckinzie Timmons (Parma sophomores).
Third place—Kristi Soelberg-Kristyn King (Payette senior, junior) 6-1 ,6-1 over Rochelle Antonucci-Kinzie Reuck (Homedale senior, junior).
Championship—Jesse Chaney-Samantha Frazier (Parma junior, sophomore) 6-3, 6-1 over Jesse Johnson-Carolyn Dees (Fruitland seniors).
Third place—Jacob Nichols-Kynna Randall (Culdesac sophomore, senior) 6-2, 6-3 over J.P. McNeal-Jessie Curran (CS senior, freshman).