RALEIGH — They are two tennis-playing teenagers who can tell you all about life along the baseline. Judson Williams and his sister, Henriette Williams, began learning about this most important boundary of life as young children.
"When we were little, we used to hit with my mom," says Henriette. "And she said the most important thing was to hit the ball back, probably because she got impatient with us when we hit the ball in the net. We used to play the moonball style of tennis."
The moonball has given way to crisp ground strokes, but every shot directed to these tennis siblings will find a reply.
"I run down a lot of shots from the baseline," Judson explains. "And I'm never gonna give up. I just try to keep the other guy out there."
Today that other guy is Henriette.(Bob Holliday to Henriette): Ever outlast your brother?
"Never," admits Judson's little sister. "I get so frustrated. He keeps hitting it back, so I'll try to hit it harder. And it usually goes in the net or something."
Coach Steve Spivey explains just how much endurance Judson has on the court.
"When he's playing a good opponent, he may hit 40-60 shots back over the net," Spivey says. "His points can last four to four and a half minutes."
But it was Henriette that scored the first baseline breakthrough. She won the state high school championship last fall. Did that put pressure on Judson? You bet.
"Oh gosh, yessir," says Judson. "The pressure was enormous."
But a couple of weeks ago, with Henriette cheering him on, Judson also won the state title. Graduation will break up Broughton's championship duo, but Coach Steve Spivey can still smile. There are two more Williams' growing up on the baseline.