Red Devils win potential playoff preview

Tied with Shelby and heading into doubles play, the Newton-Conover tennis team needed to win two matches to clinch the victory Thursday.

Not only did the Red Devils (14-2, 9-0) win two doubles matches, but they swept the second-ranked Golden Lions (9-2, 7-0) in decisive fashion.

Coming into the match, Newton-Conover was ranked No. 1 in the state in 2A tennis, while Shelby was No. 2.

"I am really happy with how our doubles teams played," said Red Devils coach Brian Tate. "That has always been one of our strong suits. I felt like if the match was even (after singles), we were in good shape. Sweeping doubles is great."

The Red Devils jumped out to a 1-0 advantage, after Austin Adams defeated Dennis Beam. However, the Golden Lions fought back to win three of the next four singles matches to take a 3-2 lead.

Ryan Lampe, of Newton-Conover, and Shelby's Miles Poage battled in the longest of the six singles matches of the day. The two played 21 points in two sets. After winning a close first set, Lampe was victorious in the second set, as he kept his team in a deadlock 3-3 tie heading into doubles play.

Despite losing in each of their singles matches, Hang Choi, John Tate and Tyler Barrymore tried to rebound. They partnered with the three singles winners for Newton-Conover -- Ryan Lampe, Austin Adams and John Reid -- to try and pick up two doubles victories to win the match.

The trios worked well together. The No. 1 doubles team of Choi and Lampe, as well as the No. 2 doubles team of Adams and Tate, both earned decisive 8-3 victories to earn the Red Devils the win against second-ranked Shelby.

Barrymore and Reid also earned a victory, as the Red Devils swept doubles play.

"We've swept doubles and won a match quite a few times," coach Tate said. "We did that against Salisbury last year and Watauga two years ago. We are pretty happy with our doubles play. I was ecstatic with how they played today and how we just dominated three matches like that."

As for a potential match-up with the Golden Lions later this season, coach Tate expects it to happen and thinks it will be much closer.

"That was a good win for us and we know we are going to see those guys again," coach Tate said. "I think they will go back to the drawing board on their doubles in the playoffs. We know when we see them again, we will have a much tougher time."