Braves Gwin, Reaser advance to regional

Brownstown Central’s No. 1 doubles team of Connor Gwin and Bryce Reaser advanced to the next round of the IHSAA boys state tennis tournament by winning their match Wednesday in the Seymour Sectional.

Reaser and Gwin defeated Austin’s Brooks Swank and Javen Smith 6-2, 6-0 to advance to a match Tuesday at Bloomington.

Pierson Wheeler was the only other Brave to come up with a win Wednesday as the Braves lost 3-2. The semifinals will be played today with Seymour (11-2) facing Trinity Lutheran (12-10), and Austin (12-3) will battle Scottsburg with both matches set to start at 5 p.m.

Gwin and Reaser said getting off to a good start was a big key to winning.

“We’ve played together all year except for one or two matches. It feels good to beat them since we lost the conference match,” Reaser said. “We just played better overall. We teamed up together a lot more today. Our serves and just everything was better today.”

Gwin said, “Like Bryce said, overall, we played them better, and we communicated well. I’m just glad we get to advance and go to Bloomington South. You always want to get out and win the first set so you can get a jump on them so you don’t have to battle back and try to make it go to three. We got off to a good start. We played well, and we communicated. We need to prepare well (today) and Friday and go from there and play well.”

Reaser said, “Overall, I just need to serve better, be more aggressive and be more consistent.”

Braves coach Donnie Thomas said Austin coach Jared Petersen switched the lineup. Swank and Smith played two and three singles during their Mid-Southern Conference match Sept. 1

“I was glad for Gwin and Reaser,” Thomas said. “They just kept the ball in play really well and just took care of everything. If you don’t try to overhit the ball, a lot of good things happen, and they didn’t do that tonight. They put it to them pretty good. I told them on the bus, I said, ‘Be consistent and take normal shots. Don’t overhit things and just keep it in play.’”

Wheeler topped Cameron Richie 6-1, 6-0 at No. 2 singles.

Thomas said, “Pierson really put it to (Richie). He meant business this time. Last year, both of them played the same at No. 2, and they went three sets in the sectional. Pierson just came out and cleaned house. He looked good.”

Brownstown’s Smith Hackman lost 6-1, 6-0 to Brendan Hanner at No. 1 singles, Lane Steward fell 6-2, 6-1 to Parker Bruce at No. 3 singles and Elix Preston and Evan Schneider lost 6-3, 6-2 to Grayson Squires and Xander Richie at two doubles.

Thomas said, “That boy that beat Smith is really good. No. 2 doubles should have went at the net a little bit more. They were lobbing them up and they were putting them away.”

Thomas said the reason Bruce was able to win was because he was able to return shots better than Steward.

The Braves ended up 9-8 on the season.

Thomas said, “I’m proud of them. They did a really good job this year.”