Braves blank Edinburgh in home opener


Ethan Isaacs has played just four matches of varsity tennis for the Brownstown Central Braves in his short tennis career. 

All of them have been at No. 1 singles.

The junior won his third match of the season, in the most competitive match of the night, 6-3, 6-3, over Edinburgh’s Brayden McManaway en route to a 5-0 team sweep for the Braves over the Lancers. 

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Brownstown Central coach Mitch Taylor admits, Isaacs has some more tools he needs to add to his game, but his drive to compete is what continues to earn him his top spot on the team. 

"He started playing a little junior varsity for us last year," Taylor said. "He’s a kid that competes, which I love, but he’s got to trust all parts of his game. He has all the strokes, he shows them in practice but, when you get to match, can it transition."

Isaacs definitely favors a forehand stroke when he plays the ball but Taylor says he shows off a solid backhand in practice but it hasn’t translated to games just yet. Taylor says he’s showing signs of rounding out his game every day. 

Next to Isaacs were Ethan Davis and Kelian East at Nos. 2 and 3 singles, respectively.

Neither player dropped a game on their way to a straight-sets win over their Lancer counterparts. 

In the doubles matches, the No. 1 pair of Reece Carlin and Griffin Stidam battled in the first set to win, 6-4, before putting it in cruise control to win the second, 6-0.

The No. 2 tandem of Cole Shasteen and Trent Luedeman had a similar outing, winning their first set, 6-3, before winning the second, 6-0.

Taylor has been trying to get it through to his players the quicker they can get the advantage, the more they can open up their game. He believes he saw some of that on Tuesday night against Edinburgh. 

"I always think, and this is in any sport, once you have a lead, it’s easier to stay comfortable and start playing you’re own game," Taylor said. "In tennis, until you get a game or two lead, I think guys become more comfortable and they’re not afraid of hitting the shots they know how to hit.

"They don’t want to mess up in the beginning," he continued. "But my guys are starting to figure out, the earlier they get into the way they want to play … that’s when they really start to play better."

Taylor hopes his players start to develop more confidence in themselves but knows, this early in the season, there is still time to get there. In terms of skill, his players need to learn a better first serve.

"They think they’re supposed to hit their first serve 100 % and then their second serve is to just get it in," he said. "The way you need to play is get that first serve at 85-90 %, where you can still get it in and still have a lot on it, and you’re second needs to be 60-70 % and keeping it deep in the service box."

He points to Stidam as the player in his bunch that has one of the more consistent first serves. 

The Braves are on the road Thursday against sectional and Mid-Southern Conference rival Scottsburg at 5 p.m. 

Taylor believes the match will be a good barometer for where his kids are at and what they need to work on moving forward towards the postseason. 

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