With two teams in the semifinals, statistically, Rocky Mount High had a 50-50 chance of winning the NCHSAA 3-A East Regional title on Saturday.
However, both teams – Chandler and Tanner Brice as well as Mary Blair Thompson and Eliza Fike – came up just short.
The Brice sisters finished second, while Fike and Thompson finished third.
Both teams were defeated by the Eastern Wayne team of Faith and Savannah Sutton, but both doubles teams also qualified for the NCHSAA 3-A individual state championship, which will begin at 9 a.m. Friday in Burlington.
Fike and Thompson lost in the semifinals, 6-4 7-5, before winning the third-place match, 6-0, 6-1.
“It was great,” Rocky Mount coach Barry Nethercutt said. “I really thought we had the talent to do that. I thought Eliza and Mary Blair in the semifinals just played really, really well. We were just a couple points away in both sets from pulling off the upset.”
Tanner and Chandler Brice, who played as the Gryphons’ top doubles team for much of the year, fell short, despite the expectation that they could win the regional.
“They didn’t play as well as they could have played,” Nethercutt said of his top team, which lost the finals in straight sets. “It wasn’t their best tournament.”
Rocky Mount will play at Erwin Triton on Tuesday in the second round of the NCHSAA dual team state playoffs.
Nash Central singles player Kaley Price lost in straight sets in the semifinals and withdrew from the third-place match because of a knee injury.
She qualified for the state championship by finishing fourth.
Northern Nash, which earned a No. 3 seed in the NCHSAA 3-A state playoffs, scored a victory in the first round Saturday.
The Knights (12-8) defeated Pikeville Aycock in five sets and will play at Topsail on Tuesday.
The Knights lost the first set, 25-17, but rebound to win three of the final four, including a dominating, 25-7 victory in the second set.
Northern Nash was down by six points in the final set before rallying for a 15-11 victory.
Alexus Hill and Kiana Thomas combined for 16 blocks at the net, and Shelby Godwin served up seven aces. Caroline Jenkins recorded 20 service points.
Play in the NCHSAA 3-A East Regional begins Monday at Birchwood Country Club in Nashville.
The single round is set to tee off at 9:30 a.m. Nash County golfers include: Rocky Mount High’s Ali Martin and Nash Central’s duo of Hannah Sasser and Sara Joyner.
Southern Nash junior Alexis Barrett also is competing. She is trying to qualify a Ladybirds golfer into the state tournament for the fourth straight season. Southern Nash qualified as a team in 2011.