PILOT MOUNTAIN — The winner of Tuesday’s tennis match between host East Surry and Mount Airy was sort of predictable, but the No. 2 singles match provided enough excitement to make up for it.
The fifth-ranked Granite Bears, the state’s top traditional 1A team in the latest N.C. High School Tennis Coaches Association rankings, continued their run through the end of the regular season with a 9-0 sweep of the Cardinals. However, Mount Airy’s Harrison Morris and East’s Ryan Sigmon battled each other in a singles match that took so long that one of the doubles matches wrapped up before they were done on court two.
Mount Airy already led 6-0, having swept the other five singles and the No. 3 doubles, when Morris finally outlasted Sigmon in the second-set tiebreaker and won the match 7-5, 7-6 (7-2). The two players had battled evenly in the first set before Morris scored a break at 6-5 to take it. However, Sigmon returned the favor at the start of the second set and trailed 2-3 before battling back to serve for the match at 5-4. Sigmon earned a second break and stayed alive, won the next game and served for the set himself, ahead 6-5. Now it was Morris’ turn to break back, forcing a tiebreaker that he was able to win.
The other matches all went fairly quickly. The Bears won all three singles matches at the bottom half of the lineup in shutouts. No. 5 Owen Perkins was the first to finish, followed by sixth-seeded Ryan Graham over Lee Knight, and then No. 4 Kaleb Morrison over Eli Gray. Top-seeded Emory Bray and third-seeded Hunter Eaton each lost one game on the serve of their opponents, AJ Key and Ryan Presnell, respectively. Bray lost one game in the first set and Eaton one in his second set.
While Morris and Sigmon battled each other, Eaton and Graham went ahead and played Gray and Knight at No. 3 doubles and won in a shutout. The other two doubles began after the second singles finished up. Morrison and Perkins beat Sigmon and Cox 8-3 at No. 2 doubles and then Bray and Morris beat Key and Presnell by the same score to complete the match.
Mount Airy finishes the regular season today at Galax. The Cardinals will host North Surry today in their finale.