After nearly three hours and 18 matches of badminton between Buena Park and Nogales high schools, the fate of Buena Park was in the hands of its girls.
With the teams tied at 9-9, Buena Park's No. 2 girls' doubles team of Juhee Choi and Souki Sundara upset Nogales' No. 1 team, Caroline Zabala and Toni Kim, 11-15, 15-6, 15-12, to give the Coyotes a 10-9 victory over Nogales Thursday in a Southern Section 4-A badminton semifinal match at La Puente.
Buena Park (19-0) won seven of its eight girls' matches, an unexpected surprise to Coach Claudine Casey.
"I expected us to win close, but not in that way," Casey said.
Even a close victory seemed unlikely to Casey when Nogales took a 7-5 lead midway through the match.
"That was probably the match," she said, after Nogales' Christine Zabala and Maniloth Douangsithy defeated Choi and Sundara, 15-4, 15-10.
"I expected us to get at least one point in boys' doubles," Casey said. "When we didn't and then lost in girls' doubles, I didn't think we could come back."
Things looked worse moments later when Nogales took a 9-7 lead, and was one victory away from the championship.
But Buena Park won its final three matches, as Tonya Van Dervort defeated Luz Siasoyco, 12-14, 11-5, 11-5, and Tu Le and Dina Ross defeated Christine Zabala and Douangsithy, 15-11, 15-7, setting the stage for Choi and Sundara's final victory.