For nearly 50 years, Starmount and Elkin have shared a rivalry known as the Battle of the Bridge. Now, the two schools will have to share something more than one of the biggest rivalries in the Tri-County area.
Tuesday night saw both the Rams and Lady Elks clinch the Mountain Valley Athletic Conference regular season championship for basketball. As the tournaments are set to begin early next week, this gives both teams a tremendous advantage Friday night as they know no matter what, the road to the championship will go through their schools.
With a 39-24 win over North Wilkes, the Rams (13-9, 11-2 MVAC) earned their third straight regular season conference championship, but early in the year, their competition was stout and it looked like their streak might end. After dropping four straight games in December, the team went 9-1 in its first 10 conference games.
On the girls side, Elkin got revenge on East Wilkes Tuesday night 49-40 to clinch the conference championship. The team’s only loss of the season came in Ronda at the hands of the Cardinals. Since then, the team has gone back to its winning ways at 21-1 overall. While some of their games on paper looked like they should have had a larger margin of victory, but that’s a sign of the parity of the Mountain Valley Athletic Conference, and a sign the team can overcome adversity.
Unofficially, it looks like the rivalry could continue for both teams as the Starmount boys could play Elkin (2-20, 1-12 MVAC) in the first round of the conference tournament, and the Starmount girls traveled to Alleghany Thursday night, with the loser clinching the last seed for the tournament. Those results were not final at press time.
Dates and times for the Mountain Valley Athletic Conference tournament are not finalized, and locations for each team are pending Friday night’s results.
Ryan DeCosta can be reached at 336-258-4052 or via Twitter @rsdecosta.