Tyler Barrymore hasn’t played in a 2A state championship match. After Thursday, that all changed.
His play was critical in the Red Devils’ 7-2 victory over Shelby, which earned the team a fifth straight berth in state championship match.
Barrymore picked the perfect time to have the match of his young career at Newton-Conover.
The freshman rallied for one set down against Will Lutz to win the match on a third-set tiebreaker 3-6, 6-4 (10-6).
“It felt good to put my team in a good position to win the match,” Barrymore said. “Last time we played Shelby, we were tied 3-3 after singles. I lost my match 6-1, 6-2. It feels great to come back and play the way I played. I played the best match of my life.”
Barrymore lost in straight sets to Lutz on March 31, when Newton-Conover hosted the Golden Lions.
“Going into the day, Tyler’s match was one I was thinking would be a huge bonus is we could win,” said N-C coach Brian Tate. “When the first set ended, I told him to hit the ball in play better and just quit shooting at lines. He started being more consistent and that’s what won him the match.”
The Red Devils (24-2) started with a 3-0 lead in the match with victories from John Reid, Austin Adams and Ryan Lampe.
Shelby answered in the clutch with two match wins on third set tiebreakers.
Raywebb Parker defeated Hang Lak Choi 4-6, 6-2 (10-4) and Joseph Hendrick defeated John Tate 7-5, 4-6 (10-2) in those matches.
Barrymore’s victory in his match with Lutz helped break the mold from the last time the two teams faced off.
After six singles matches on March 31, Newton-Conover and Shelby were tied 3-3.
“I told our guys that we wanted to be up 4-2 after singles,” coach Tate said. “We didn’t want to have win two doubles matches. Being up 4-2 feels so much better than being tied 3-3.”
As has been the case all season, the Red Devils relied on doubles matches in the clutch to close out the match and advance to Saturday’s state title match.
The team of Austin Adams and John Tate defeated Dennis Beam and Miles Poage 10-3, to seal the Red Devils’ berth in the state final.
“All good things must come to an end,” coach Tate said. “After we won the state title last year, I wanted to see if we could get back-to-back titles. That has never happened in the history of any sports team at this school. We made that a goal this year. I knew it would be tough because we lost some good players from last year’s team, but I knew it was possible.”
Barrymore says the feeling of playing for a state title is unbelievable.
“It feels great to me personally,” Barrymore said. “I just wished I could have been a part of the other four. I am glad I get to participate in one of them and help my team the best that I can.”
The Red Devils travel to Burlington on Saturday to face either Durham School of the Arts (DSA) or Carrboro for the 2A state championship.
“At states last week, DSA’s coach told us they had something for us, and they were going to show us something,” coach Tate said. “They just provided us with bulletin board material. I will worry about our guys having a let down on Saturday, but we wonat. We just had a team challenge us. Our boys love a challenge, so I hope it is DSA that we will be facing.”