Trailing 5-1 in the first set, the Palos Verdes duo of Kai Brady and Sean Holt didn’t let the deficit get the best of them in the doubles final at the CIF-SS Boys Tennis Individual Championships on Thursday at the Seal Beach Tennis Club.
“Harvard-Westlake came out firing early, but we just kept with our game plan,” Holt said. ”We made a few tweaks here and there, but we played aggressive and with a lot of energy. We found a way to turn it around.”
Brady and Holt battled back from that early deficit, took the next two sets and defeated Harvard Westlake’s David Arkow and Sam Landau 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 to win the CIF-SS doubles title.
“(Brady and Holt’s) mentality was great,” PV coach Kip Brady said. “I talked with them after that first match, and they weren’t rattled. It shows what a positive mindset they had, and the confidence they had …”
The victory capped a stellar season for the doubles team, which also captured the Bay League and Ojai tournament titles. In 2011, PV’s Eric Lim and Jeff Hawke accomplished the same feat.
“To close the season out like this, it was the greatest feeling,” Holt said.
Kai Brady transferred from Redondo to Palos Verdes before the school year, and he noted how much the entire experience of playing in the postseason meant to him.
“We didn’t get to play in CIF last year (at Redondo), having played in a tough league (Bay) and needing to finish in the top three,” Kai Brady said. “Coming to PV and getting to play in CIF was amazing in itself, but winning was a whole different feeling.”
Having known each other since they were toddlers, the pairing of Holt and Brady was a no-brainer, the players said.
“We’ve always known each other, and we grew up playing tennis together,” Holt said. “This season, we learned how to play really well together. We have so much fun on the court, and we know where each other is going to be.”
Arkow and Landau beat Peninsula’s Stetson Martz and Nabeel Khan 6-4, 6-2 in the semifinals.
Peninsula coach Mike Hoeger said the Panthers duo come together well in the tournament after not playing together much this season.
“Stetson broke his foot at the beginning of the year, and Nabeel played with three different partners,” Hoeger said. “Nabeel is a really good doubles player, and once we got him with Stetson, that became the team at the end of the year.”
Although they didn’t have much playing time together this season, Martz and Khan finished second at the Bay League Finals before making a run at the CIF doubles title.
“They made a miraculous run, and I knew they had it in them,” Hoeger said. “It was a nice surprise, and they played well against (Arkow and Landau), but they couldn’t get a couple of key points.”