Jamie Stoppler and Lauryn Andre know each other like, well, the back of their rackets.
The senior tennis stars from Century and Bismarck High took private lessons together and have been playing against each other since middle school. So it was no surprise on Tuesday that their No. 1 singles match at Sertoma Tennis Courts was tight from start to finish.
But, like she has in each West Region match all season, Stoppler prevailed in a pair of tie-breakers, 7-6 (4) and 7-6 (2). The Patriots, sitting atop the conference standings, won the dual, 6-3.
"It's kind of difficult because we're friends off the court too," said Stoppler, who remained unbeaten at 7-0. "It's not easy, Lauryn's good. I just try to stay in every point and fight for everything."
Andre didn't leave the court empty-handed. Her and doubles partner Taylor Richter scored a three-set win over Stoppler and Riley Lembke. The match was shortened to a 10-pointer due to the dual already being decided and the heat.
Andre enjoys facing the best.
"It's really fun because we go back and forth and we know each other pretty well," she said of facing Stoppler. "Regardless of the score, I thought it was a really fun match and I think it's really good to have a match like that going into regionals."
Century coach Dan Keith said the No. 1 singles match was a treat.
"That was as good as it gets for WDA tennis," Keith said of the No. 1 singles match. "I overheard many of the spectators say it was a privilege to watch those two go at each other. It was just a great tennis match between two terrific players."
Century remained undefeated in the West Region at 7-0 ahead of Thursday's showdown against Minot. The Majettes also are undefeated.
Tuesday's match was even closer than the 6-3 final suggested. At one point during singles play, the Demons held leads in four of the six matches.
Heather Davis scored an impressive 6-1, 6-0 win at No. 3 singles, while Keith also singled out senior Katie Pitcher, who rallied out of a 5-2 hole against Morgan Fisher before winning in straight sets, 7-6 (2) and 6-2.
"Katie hung in there and then made a huge run," Keith said. "I thought Heather Davis really set the tone with a decisive win at No. 3."
Emily Savageau surrendered just two games in her win at No. 5 for the Patriots.
Taylor Richter topped Sophia Holmen 7-5, 6-1 in a matchup of two of the top No. 2 players in the West. The Demons also got a 6-3, 6-3 victory from Jessica Keller at No. 6 singles.
Century took two of three doubles matches. Holmen and Pitcher surrendered just two games at No. 2. Savageau and Keller topped Fischer and Delaney Scanson, 6-2, 6-2.
"It's been a fun season and we've had a lot of success as a team," Stoppler said. "I think we're getting better and more consistent every match. We're working really hard and it's fun to see that hard work pay off."