The Lady Bears clinched the final doubles match Thursday to defeat Bishop McGuinness.
Mount Airy moved into a first-place tie with the Lady Villains after avenging its only loss in the Northwest Conference.
In singles, the Bears took the first set on three courts, and the Villains took three sets.
In the second set, the teams again split down the middle with the match tied 3-3 going into doubles.
Courts One and Two split, leaving the third seeds as the rubber match.
A couple of matches ago, Coach Scott Kniskern changed up his doubles card.
Davi Barbour and Haley Thomas are the two-time conference champions and have made the state Final Four twice. However, looking ahead at the dual-team state playoffs, Kniskern thought he might have to split up that dynamic duo to give the lineup more balance.
The team shifting put third seed Bree Hughes and fourth seed Jai Daniels on Court Three.
Facing Bishop’s Anna Petrangeli and Nicole Saia, Hughes and Daniels put in a dominant 10-2 effort to seal the win.
If both schools finish the regular season without a conference loss, there might be a third meeting to determine the season champion. Not only would this give the winner bragging rights, but it would mean the top seed for the Northwest Conference in the state 1A dual-team playoffs.
While the third doubles team earned the final point, the MVP of the match goes to Davi Barbour.
With the graduation of Jordan Jackson, there hasn’t been anyone in the Northwest who could hang with Bishop junior Kyndall Cortes.
In their first meeting, Cortes beat Barbour 6-3, 6-3.
In the rematch, Barbour held a narrow 2-1 lead with fans wondering anxiously if the lead would hold. Barbour then won back-to-back games to take control and won the first set 6-3.
In the second set, Cortes took three of four games to get in the lead 4-3 and appeared ready to force a third-set tiebreaker. However, Barbour won the final three games for a 6-3, 6-4 win.
“Davi was on her game today,” said Kniskern. “She played smart against Kyndall.”
Barbour wasn’t done yet. She teamed up with Bailey Jackson to win the second doubles match 10-4 over Morgan Auger and Adaire Hudson.
Jackson also won in singles and doubles.
Against Saia, Jackson held a narrow 4-3 edge before finding her groove. She won eight of the last nine games for a 6-3, 6-1 victory.
Hughes and Daniels bounced back from singles losses to get the deciding doubles win.
Hughes lost to Anna Owen 6-2, 6-3 in the third spot.
Daniels fell behind 5-0 in the first set before playing evenly with Hudson the rest of the way. In fact, Daniels went 9-7 after that slow start.
Still Hudson won the first set 6-3 and then the two played to a 6-6 tie in the second. Hudson eventually pulled out an 8-6 tiebreaker win.
Carley VanHoy also came back from a slow start.
She fell behind 5-2 against Anna Petrangeli before rallying with a couple of wins. Petrangeli eventually won 6-4, 6-3.
Haley Thomas was out sick for the first Bishop meeting, but came back to give the team a needed win in singles.
Playing at her usual brisk pace, Thomas beat Auger 6-3, 6-3.
In doubles, however, Thomas and VanHoy couldn’t find their rhythm together and lost 10-1.
“I was happy with the win,” said Kniskern. “Everybody played fairly well.”
These were some tough matches, he said. Even for the three players who lost in singles, the Bears took a lead at some point in the second set in each match.
“Two and three doubles played great to win comfortably on their home court,” he added.
Next, the Bears travel to East Surry on Monday, then to Surry Central on Wednesday.
The Bears will have Senior Night for their four seniors on Thursday against Winston-Salem Prep.