HIGH SCHOOL TENNIS

Mounties, Wolves advance to sectional final

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Parke Heritage and Southmont each took care of business on Wednesday night to advance to the tennis sectional final.

The Wolves beat Crawfordsville 4-1, while the Mounties defeated North Montgomery 4-1 — setting up a rematch from last Monday when Parke Heritage beat Southmont 4-1.

On Wednesday, Adam Cox beat North Montgomery’s Will McKinniss 6-1, 6-0 at No. 1 singles, while Luke Tesmer took care of Hayden Turner 6-1, 6-1 at No. 2 singles. The duo of Caden Jones and Mason Hall beat Nate McCoy and Brookes Walters 7-5, 6-2 at No. 1 doubles, while Chayce Howell and Harrison Haddock downed Haze Kashon and Ethan Garrett 6-0, 6-0 at No. 2 doubles.

“Today was a pretty easy way to be relaxed and play,” Southmont coach Nathan Poynter said. “They have gotten themselves a lot better in the last couple of weeks. I think there for a good while it kind of got too easy and they got to lackadaisical. So a couple of things happened here toward the end of the season and that makes a difference.”

North Montgomery’s lone win came at No. 3 singles as freshman Beckett Martin beat Southmont’s Hayden Hess 7-6(1), 7-6(5).

“I think our guys came out really good,” North Montgomery first-year coach Dane Baldwin said. “Our one doubles, they came out firing and were up the entire set until the end. Three singles we came out really good and ended up winning it in two tiebreakers.”

Crawfordsville entered sectional play with an upset in mind, but was only able to win at one spot.

Freshman Wyatt Motz beat Joel Gooch 6-3, 6-0 at No. 2 singles.

“Knowing it was going to be close, I am extremely proud of my team,” Crawfordsville coach Craig Brainard said. “Because one of our main goals was to not lose mentally and I without a doubt know we did not lose mentally tonight. I really do think that Parke Heritage bested us physically, but if you look at our scores compared to the last time we played them, everybody’s scores were closer.”

At No. 1 singles, James Murphy fell to Evan James 6-4, 6-4, while James Novak lost to Mason Bowsher 6-1, 6-1 in the No. 3 slot.

Thatcher Gambrel and Ziair Morgan lost to Max Dowd and Garrett McCalister 1-6, 6-2, 6-2 at No. 1 doubles, while Jude Hutchison and Thomas Bowling fell to Carson McCalister and Lewie Woody 6-4, 7-5 in the No. 2 spot.

This season the Athenians overcame a slow start to finish second in the Sagamore Conference, and peaked at the end of the season.

“I think that they played at their highest level tonight,” Brainard said.

“It’s been big having success. The younger players came into their game by the end of the season. And we are already talking about what we need to do to maintain that for next season and I think a lot of them are pretty fired up to come back and really improve upon where we ended this year.”

Southmont and Parke Heritage will meet back at Crawfordsville for the title. The Mounties are looking for a third-straight sectional title, while Parke Heritage is searching for its second sectional title in school history and first since 2018.

“The big thing is keeping our doubles’ heads in it,” Poynter said. “That’s a big key. Doubles needs to come prepared. That’s just a place that we kind of expect. We’ve done some things with two singles and we will have a totally different player at three singles, but I think it will be a totally different match tomorrow one way or the other.”

Mustangs fall to Bison

The Fountain Central boys’ tennis team fell in the sectional opener 4-1 to Benton Central.

Carter Merryman and Brayden Prickett won the lone Mustang point with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Kolton Goodman and Baylon Holmes at No. 1 doubles.

At No. 1 singles, Skyler Hoagland fell 6-1, 6-2 to Blake Buchanan, while Gabe McCollum lost 6-4, 6-4 to Adrian Torres at No. 2 singles, and Wes Jackson fell 6-0, 6-0 to Logan Hardebeck at No. 3 singles. Noah Armstrong and Lukas Miller lost to Ryan Foster and Tyler Klemme 7-6(5), 6-2 at No. 2 doubles. 

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