During the past 14 years, Brownstown Central’s boys tennis team has used its match against Jennings County as an indicator of where they will stand the rest of the season.
In their home-opener Tuesday, the Braves picked up their third win during that span, defeating the Panthers 4-1.
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“The years that we’ve been over 20 wins, we’ve beaten Jennings,” Braves coach Ron Slaton said. “Jennings and Borden are always a good gauge. Between the two schools we figure out what team we really are. I’m really excited. I thought we would be pretty good since we lost one senior, but hell, this could be one of our better teams (in the program’s history).”
The Braves No. 2 doubles team of Sy Zickler and Ethan Carlin were the first to come off the court with a 6-0, 6-1 win against Justin Gasper and Austin Mills.
Next to finish for the Braves was the No. 1 doubles tandem of Riley Carlin and Sam Hoff, who beat Bailey Wilder and Luke Ertel 6-1, 6-1.
Slaton said that in his four years of coaching, Carlin played his best match of his career against the Panthers.
“It kind of makes it easier for the rest of the season,” Carlin said after the match. “Since we beat a good team in the beginning, we have a lot to look forward to.”
Braves senior Cole Brock won a dogfight of a match against Adam Jackson, at No. 2 singles, with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 victory.
In the No. 3 singles spot, Kent Criminger bested the Panthers’ Avery Johnson 6-3, 6-2.
Both Brock and Criminger are bumped-up to singles this season after playing doubles in 2014.
At No. 1 singles, Owen Land defeated the Braves’ Lute Lahrman 6-2, 7-6 (4).
Lahrman was able to force a tiebreaker in the second set after trailing most of the match.
Slaton said he was shocked that his team played so well against a much bigger school.
“I think the kids came out and showed they’ve done work over the summer,” Slaton said. “It was surprising. No. 1 singles is always going to be tough for us. We’re not a ‘tennis school’ that travels to Louisville and Bloomington to take individual lessons, but we will get into dogfights with them.
“I didn’t realize that our No. 1 through No. 3 singles are going to be as strong as they are. We moved (Brock and Criminger) up from doubles. Even though I moved them up, the doubles stayed strong today.”
On Thursday, the Braves travel to North Harrison.