GLENDALE - Sisters Kirtana and Rachana Bhat hadn't played as a doubles team in the regular season, but when it was decided they would pair up for the state playoffs they knew they had to start practicing.
The third-seeded Bhats faced the experienced No. 1- seed Ironwood Ridge team of Marissa Baca and Katrina Domingo in the Division II girls doubles championship in Glendale in an all-Southern Arizona affair.
Foothills took the first set 7-5 after a hard back-and-forth battle. Baca and Domingo would make a run and the Bhats would counter with one of their own. In the end it was the Bhat sisters' ability to stay focused and calm that allowed them to take the second set 7-5 and complete the upset and win the championship. This is the second year in a row that Foothills won the doubles title.
"They're a really good team so we had to be on top of our game," said Rachana. "We've been working together since we knew we were going to play in the state tournament so I'm glad that all of our hard work paid off."
Earlier in the day the Falcons' top-seeded Zaina Sufi, who was part of last year's champion doubles team, won the Division II girls singles championship, beating Aleeza Kanner of Phoenix Sunnyslope 6-1, 6-3. Sufi typically plays doubles with Rachana but it was decided she would go for the singles title while the Bhats went in doubles.
"For Zaina to go out with a win like this is very exciting for her," said Foothills girls coach Kristie Stevens. "It's been a great day for the team. They're all strong players but this tournament is tough and I'm glad that they could see it through."