Whetstone Roundup: Braves boys tennis squad exceeds expectations

Stephen Borgna
ThisWeek group
Neil Gordon and Whetstone are preparing for the Division II postseason. Coach Errole Rembert said the Braves have been showing improvement. “We still have work to do, but the light’s coming on,” he said.

With limited varsity experience entering the season, coach Bucky Walters wasn’t sure what to expect from the Whetstone boys tennis team this spring. 

The Braves ended up surpassing his expectations thanks to strong performances in the City League tournament April 26 and 28 at Africentric and a solid record in dual matches. Whetstone was 7-3 overall and 4-0 in the City-North Division ahead of its final regular-season match against Centennial.

The match was rained out, and as of May 5 a make-up date was still to be determined, Walters said.

“I expected some growing pains, but they’ve definitely gone past what I initially thought I would be seeing,” Walters said. “They’re playing some good tennis.” 

The Braves’ first- and second-doubles teams took center stage in the City tournament. The first-doubles team of Owen Hostetter and Max Johnson and the second-doubles team of Riley Creagh and Thomas Gott were the first and second seeds, respectively, and both went 2-0 to advance to an all-Whetstone championship match.

With the two teams set to face each other in the final, the Braves elected to stage the match at home the week of May 10. As of May 5, a date hadn’t been determined, Walters said.

Both doubles teams earned first-team all-City honors. 

“They’ve (both) performed very well over the season and have improved a great deal,” Walters said. “They’re all fairly young and inexperienced, but they’ve picked up a lot this season. Both teams have gone past my expectations and continued to impress.”

At first singles, Beaux Baldwin went 2-1 in the City tournament to finish in the top four and earn first-team all-City honors. 

“Beaux has led us all year, and he played remarkably well,” Walters said. 

Henry Husentis, who played second singles following a transition from doubles, also went 2-1. He finished in the top eight and was honorable mention all-City. 

“He did a nice job transitioning,” Walters said. 

Zander Schirmer played in his first varsity matches in the City tournament at third singles and went 1-1. 

“He did unusually well playing for the first time (on varsity) and winning and losing against varsity players,” Walters said. 

The Braves opened the postseason in a Division I sectional May 11 at Reynoldsburg. The sectional wraps up May 15, with the top four finishers in singles and doubles advancing to district May 20 and 22 at Reynoldsburg.

Boys volleyball team

shows improvement 

Coach Errole Rembert said the boys volleyball team has demonstrated improvement throughout the season, but work still needs to be done with the Division II postseason beginning May 21. 

“We still have work to do, but the light’s coming on,” Rembert said. “They’re starting to see what’s supposed to be done and they’re starting to understand there’s certain things that have to be done in a certain order to be successful. 

“They’re getting there. We’ve had our moments where we’ve looked pretty good.” 

The Braves were 1-19 before facing Centennial on May 6. They defeated Beechcroft 25-11, 20-25, 25-20, 25-18 on April 20. 

Whetstone has been fielding a starting lineup of Finn Lada, Bryan Phandone, Joseph DiDi, Max Rogers, Neil Gordon and Duke Daniel. 

Rembert said the Braves have shown improvement in hitting and passing. 

“We now know if we can keep the ball in play, we can play with some of these teams,” he said. “The kids are making the effort. They’re enjoying (themselves) and they’re learning the game. They’re improving and that’s all I can ask for.” 

Rembert said Rogers, Gordon, Daniel and Lada are among the Braves’ statistical leaders. He said Rogers, Gordon and Daniel have shown progress with their hitting, with Rogers leading in serving and Daniel among the leaders in blocks. 

Lada has demonstrated more consistency with his serves and has started to “see” things a little better on the court, Rembert said. 

The Braves wrap up the regular season May 13 against visiting Chillicothe. 

sborgna@thisweeknews.com

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