Braden Panzer's doubles partner rotated throughout his high school tennis career.
First, it was Cole Spicer. He moved away to pursue a hockey career, though. Then, Panzer teamed up with Chase Spicer for a year.
But as a senior, he knew there was only one option.
"This year, I figured it had to be my brother," said Braden, a Grand Forks Central senior. "It's my last year."
They made it a memorable one.
Braden and Evan Panzer won the state doubles championship Saturday at Choice Health and Fitness, beating Grand Forks Red River's Ryan Muizelaar and Karsen Johnson 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 in the final.
The doubles title came 28 years after their father, Jay, won a doubles title with his brother, Jeff. It also marked Central's first doubles title since Brad Lucke and Mark Lindgren won it in 1997.
"Getting it done with him makes it all so much better," Braden said. "My brother played so well today. Just seeing him get so pumped up and happy, it got me going, too."
Evan is only a freshman.
"It's very exciting," he said. "I'm at a loss for words. . . especially playing with my brother. It's huge."
The Panzer brothers had to earn it Saturday.
After cruising past West Region champs Jay Moylan and Nick Mathern of Bismarck Legacy 6-1, 6-2 in the semifinals, they played a down-to-the-wire final against a Roughrider duo that beat them in straight sets a week earlier in the East Region final.
In the third set, Muizelaar and Johnson led 3-2. But the Panzer brothers won back-to-back deuce points to take the lead 4-3. They used that momentum to close out the match in the next two games.
"The important points, we got most of them," Evan said. "It was a huge part of the game today. We were hitting our shots and playing our game and getting excited every point."
Braden said his dad talked to him Friday night, sharing firsthand stories about the challenges of playing doubles with a brother. On Saturday, Braden was continually upbeat with Evan, who responded by hitting several timely winners, including a drop volley on match point.
"I'm always so hard on him," Braden said. "Sometimes, it gets him going, but sometimes, it just doesn't work."
The doubles title by the Panzer brothers finished off a clean sweep for the Knights at state. They won the team title Thursday. Logan Sandberg won the singles title Saturday and the Panzer brothers won doubles a couple of hours later.
"Obviously, team is our most important goal," Braden said. "We got that done Thursday. So, this is just the cherry on top."
N.D. state tournament
In Grand Forks, Saturday
Ryan Muizelaar-Karsen Johnson, RR, over Sam Murphy-Jett Weis, RR, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4; Braden Panzer-Evan Panzer, GFC, over Jay Moylan-Nick Mathern, BL, 6-1, 6-2
Panzer-Panzer over Muizelaar-Johnson 6-2, 4-6, 6-3
Moylan-Mathern over Murphy-Weis 7-6 (0), 6-4
Chase Spicer-Cole Wilber, GFC, over Kai Pierce-Mitchell Runcorn, Shan; Jack Wanzek-Xander Hasbargen, Davies, over Keaton Pritchett-Brady Helbling, Man, 9-8 (4)
Spicer-Wilber over Wanzek-Hasbargan 6-4, 6-1