READFIELD — They played for more than four hours. Through heat, fatigue, muscle cramps, and even a parade.

And when Waynflete’s Courtney Ford edged Maranacook’s Emily Lucas at No. 3 singles, the Flyers secured a dramatic 3-2 victory in a Class C South semifinal match.

The three-set victory came complete with two tiebreakers.

“I am exhausted,” a visibly tired but beaming Ford said after finishing her 7-6 (6), 6-7 (4), 6-4 victory. “I’ve never had to go into three sets before. … (It’s a) huge relief. There was a ton of pressure, and then in one shot it was all just gone.”

Waynflete (8-6) will play No. 1 Hall-Dale in the regional final Wednesday in Lewiston. Maranacook finished its season at 12-1.

“The girls played with heart,” Black Bears coach Lou Gingras said. “It’s disappointing to lose, but they know they’ve had a great season, and most of them are coming back next year. I’m sure they’re looking forward to it.”

Lucas, who had to climb back from a 5-2 deficit in the second set just to extend the match and give the Black Bears hope, said she had a feeling her match was going to be the pivotal one.

“My match was the one we weren’t sure about, to move on in playoffs. We were like ‘If I can win, we can probably move on,’” she said. “I wanted to beat her, so I just kept going on. I knew that as much as I pushed, I wanted it to be all that I had.”

That was how it panned out. Morgan Warner got Waynflete started with a 6-0, 6-0 win at No. 1 singles, but Maranacook got the next two victories when Marie Brosey and Ella Stevens got a 6-1, 6-1 win at second doubles and Mary Hatt and Julia Riley teamed for a 6-2, 5-7, 6-3 win at first doubles. Lucy Hart came through for the Flyers with a 7-6 (7), 6-3 win at second singles, putting the focus on Ford and Lucas.

Marancook’s Paige Rice plays a first single match against Waynflete in the Class C semifinals Friday in Readfield. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

The tone was established when both players held leads during a first set that went to the tiebreaker that Ford won, and the Waynflete senior had Lucas on the brink up 5-2 and a game away from victory. Lucas, though, dug deep and won the next three games, and then another after Ford took a 6-5 lead to set up the second tiebreaker.

Her mental toughness held up again, as she dropped the first three points but won seven of the next eight to take the set and stay alive.

“I really wanted it. That’s how I got through the second (set),” Lucas said. “I definitely wanted to make it to the third set, because then I’d know I gave it my all.”

On the other end of the court, Ford knew she had left the door open.

“It was a lot of pressure. … After Lucy came through in second singles, I had to pick it up and do it for her,” she said. “I got super nervous after the second tiebreaker. I lost a 5-2 lead. I was up there and I was so sure of myself, but the pressure was on and I guess I choked.”

Maranacook’s Mary Hatt plays a first doubles match against Waynflete in the Class C semifinals Friday in Readfield. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

If her confidence was cracking, Ford didn’t show it. Her demeanor remained upbeat through mis-hits, and she even chatted and joked with her teammates when she went down with a calf cramp in the third set. When the dramatic setting was broken momentarily by a Maranacook senior parade happening nearby, Ford approved the noise.

“I love the sound effects over there,” she said. “Little siren action.”

She was all business during action, however, and quickly gained the upper hand in the third set. Lucas again kept fighting, but Ford finally sent a return that Lucas couldn’t hit back, ending the marathon at 7:10 p.m.

“I don’t know I managed this time,” she said. “I had two Gatorades, a pack of fruit snacks and two bananas, I was fueling the whole time. Lots of water, I guess.”

For a time, it looked like Maranacook’s depth was going to prevail. After Warner’s victory, both doubles teams gave the Black Bears the lead, and Maranacook then was leading third singles.

Riley knew first doubles was a must-win for Maranacook to have a chance to move on.

“We knew that this was going to be a really hard match,” she said. “This is definitely the best team that we’ve played, so we had to go into it with really positive attitudes, and a mindset like ‘We can do this.'”

That mindset was tested. After Waynflete’s Selena He and Dylan Randall-Newberg, who fought through an injury of her own, rallied to win the second set, Hatt said there was some doubt in her mind going into the third.

“A little bit,” Hatt said, “but the fact that we got the first set means that we know we can beat them, and that really helped us pull through and maintain our confidence.”

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