CAYCE – No matter how thoroughly Clinton High School controls the Upper State in Class 3A tennis, it seems as if there’s always an upscale school near Charleston up to the task of depriving the Red Devils of a state title they haven’t won since 2000.

It was more of the dreary same on a sweltering day across the Congaree River from Columbia as Bishop England (17-1), a Roman Catholic school, won its second straight title at Clinton’s expense, 5-1. Clinton (15-3) has won the Upper State championship three years in a row, only to lose to the Battling Bishops in the past two appearances and Hanahan in 2017.

Clinton head coach Clovis Simmons won her seventh Upper State championship. Her girls’ teams have won seven in the fall.

Before the match, which commenced at high noon, Simmons said, “A state championship is what’s on our minds now.”

Clinton’s superb sophomore, Ike Waldron, came through with a victory at No. 1 over Bishop England’s Zach Dacuba. It was a steamy nail-biter. Waldron won the first set 7-5, but needed a tie-breaker to win the second 7-6. He won the extra play seven points to two.

The rest of the matches were long over. At the moment Waldron nailed it down, Simmons smiled and said, “We’re real good at tie-breakers.”

What a shame there were no others to be had.

Singles: Ike Waldron (C) defeated Zach Dacuba 7-5, 7-6 (7-2). Hector Romero (BE) defeated Connor Donley 6-0, 6-0. Harrison Estey (BE) defeated Anders Orr 6-0, 6-0. Lukas Gosselin (BE) defeated Hayden Minor 6-0, 6-0. Rafe Flathman (BE) defeated Brandon Campbell 6-3, 6-0.

Doubles: Jose Rentas-Liam French (BE) defeated Eli Brewer-Hayden Stinson 6-0, 6-0.