Drama steps aside for nothing, not even darkness.
And so it was that well past sunset Tuesday, Mira Monte's girls tennis team rallied to win the No. 2 doubles match to beat host Ridgeview 5-4 and share the South Yosemite League championship with Golden Valley.
"It means a lot," Lions coach Jeanette Baybo said. "We put a lot of effort into this. A lot of the girls have been with me for four years; some had just picked up the game when they came in.
"It's wonderful. We've struggled and pulled together and continued to improve."
Golden Valley (13-8, 6-2), which was idle Tuesday, had clinched its share of beating South on Thursday.
Ridgeview (11-8, 5-3 SYL) was the three-time defending league champion, and the Wolf Pack seemed poised to share a fourth straight when Simran Sarai and Racquel Kassas won their match at No. 1 doubles to give Ridgeview a 4-3 lead.
But Mira Monte (11-4, 6-2) won the No. 3 doubles match with Cassandra Walker and Leah Merete, taking a second-set tiebreaker, meaning the title would be decided by the No. 2 doubles match between Ridgeview's Katie Dowda and Isabel Villanueva and Mira Monte's Patty Ruiz and Johanna Coronado.
Complication No. 1: Because a singles match had gone long, that match had been shortened to a single pro set (first to eight games) to beat darkness.
Complication No. 2: The match still didn't finish until sun was barely producing any light. It was 8-8 and into a tiebreaker played almost solely from the far-off football stadium lights.
"When things like that happen, I just sit there and pray," said Baybo, who's in her second year as varsity coach after a stint as Mira Monte's junior varsity coach. "I just have to wait and hope the girls persevere."
Mira Monte trailed that match 5-2, but Ruiz and Coronado rallied, tying the match at 5, then at 6 and then taking an 8-7 lead before Ridgeview forced the final tiebreaker.
"We never quit," Ruiz said. "We just let our racket do the talking."
It's Mira Monte's first tennis title since it entered the SYL in 2010. Ridgeview, which lost nine seniors from last year's team, which finished as Central Section Division III runners-up.
"For us to be where we're at is more than we could have expected," Rice said. "We were so close. Our opponents played better at the big points, but we never quit. I can't be disappointed in the girls."
Five of the singles matches were decided in straight sets, but Mira Monte earned its first turning point when No. 6 player Alely Caldera fought off two match points to beat Isabel Villanueva 1-6, 7-6, 12-10 to even the match 3-3 heading to doubles.