North eases past Eagles: Early momentum holds for Bull Dogs

The Columbus North boys tennis team cruised it’s way to the North Sectional final in Thursday’s semifinals, while Brown County won its rematch against Columbus East.

The No. 24-ranked Bull Dogs dropped only one game on their way to the 5-0 win against Edinburgh. All of the first four matches were 6-0, 6-0 sweeps.

“We knew going in that it was probably going to be a match that we were going to win fairly easy,” North coach Kendal Hammel said. “(We) did OK. They didn’t mess around or anything like that. Every position went (6-0, 6-0) except for No. 2 doubles. That’s a little bit of a sign that they stayed focused.”

Kevin Lin beat Coltan Henderson at No. 1 singles, and Joey Zhao swept Bladen Hancock at No. 2 singles for North (15-4). Akshaya Sabapathy took care of business against Ryan Gaston at No. 3 singles, and Isaac Jackson and Ben Mathew beat the Lancers duo of Brayden McManaway and Gabe Wilson at No. 1 doubles.

Bryce Burton and Parker Bryant were the only Edinburgh players to win a game but fell to Chris Ruble and Adam Saad of North 6-0, 6-1 at No. 2 doubles.

“We brought everything we had,” Edinburgh coach Pete Khensouri said. “I’m am very very pleased with my team. Starting from August until now, these kids have improved so much. … Give credit to North. They have a lot of firepower. That’s why they’re ranked No. 24 in the state. They’re a good team.”

The Lancers finished 3-14.

East beat Brown County in a competitive 3-2 match earlier in the season, and both teams anticipated another close battle in the rematch. It was the same 3-2 score as before, but the Eagles who walked away with the victory this time.

“We knew it was going to be close with them because we had such a close match when we played them in the season,” Brown County coach Kevin Roush said. “I think the guys were ready to play today, and they wanted this win. They came out and played hard.”

The Olympians took the first point with Pranav Kumarasubramanian beating Nathaniel Fox 6-0, 6-2 at No. 3 singles. Brown County took the next two points at Nos. 1 and 2 doubles.

Abe Oliver and Elijah Roush beat Caige Comstock and Nathan Hatchett 7-6, 6-3 at No. 1 doubles. Aiden Burt and Nolan Patterson topped Aaron Hunter and Jalen Pleak 6-0, 6-1 at No. 2 doubles to go up 2-1.

The only way for the Olympians (2-16) to advance was to win both matches at Nos. 1 and 2 singles. East’s Luke Miller beat Aaron McCann 2-6, 7-5, 7-5 at No. 2 singles, but not before Chase Watson of Brown County (3-17) beat Jackson Stevens 6-3, 6-3 to clinch the Eagles victory.

“Top to bottom, our line up probably wasn’t as strong as it was the first time, and our players weren’t as healthy as they were the first time, East coach Matt Malinsky said. “All credit to Brown County. They came out and took care of business on us. I thought we played well mostly in the spots that we were looking forward to. We got No. 2 singles and No. 3 singles. We were looking to rise up in one of the other spots, but we just didn’t have enough tonight.”

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Frank Bonner is a sports writer for The Republic. He can be reached at fbonner@therepublic.com or 812-379-5632.