Will True and Billy Adams set up a showdown for a region title, but it was Max Gottke and Brad Thomison who made a bit of history Wednesday.
Warren Central’s doubles team became the first Dragons to advance to the KHSAA State Tennis Tournament since 2003. Gottke and Thomison defeated John Mark Heard and Scott Jones of South Warren 6-2, 7-5 in the quarterfinals of the Region 4 tournament at Bowling Green High School, advancing to the semifinals and thus clinching a spot in the state tourney.
“I didn’t know that. That’s special,” Gottke said of the momentous win for he and Thomison.
The Dragons were able to take a relatively easy 6-2 win in the first set of Wednesday’s quarterfinals, then had to hold on for a 7-5 win to advance into Wednesday’s semifinals where they eventually fell 6-3, 7-6, 1-0 (10-6) to Amrit Avula and Cameron Newland of Greenwood.
Even though Gottke and Thomison won’t get to play in today’s championship match, they do get a chance to travel to Lexington to compete among the state’s best.
“We have the same personalities,” Gottke said on why he and his teammate have been successful. “We’ve been playing together for three years, so it’s really just time. It’s just kind of doing the normal thing, not putting too much pressure on yourself.”
Meanwhile in singles play, Will True had very few problems against Barren County’s Tristan Shaw (6-0, 6-0) and Greenwood’s Blake Nelson (6-1, 6-1).
The Bowling Green High senior fell behind 40-15 in the sixth game despite a 4-1 lead in the first game of the semifinals, but used a back-handed, cross-court lob that landed just inside the back right corner to regain momentum and later won the game on an unforced error.
“Maybe a few too many unforced errors, other than that, I served really well. It was a decent day for me,” True said. “My serve has improved drastically. I’m getting more pop on it and placing it better.”
Billy Adams of Greenwood had a little bit tougher go of things Wednesday. After easing past William Meyer of Warren East (6-0, 6-0), Adams dropped his first set against South Warren’s Kenny Wilson 6-3.
“First set started off alright, but I was overhitting a lot on my shots and I needed to kind of turn it down,” Adams said. “And he was playing good in the first set, I have to give him credit. I came back a little in the end, think I got it back to 3-4, but ended up losing it 6-3.”
Adams imposed his will in the second set by winning 6-1, forcing a tiebreaker. He jumped ahead 7-1 thanks in part to three winners by volley at the net and an ace.
Nelson hung around, fighting back to 7-6 on a volley win despite falling away from the net. That would be as close as it would get as Adams pulled away and won on a Nelson shot that floated wide right.
“I’ll have to play my best tennis,” Adams said on today’s region title matchup against True. “I’m going to have to make very little mistakes, volley really well and serve really well and hope he doesn’t play his best.”
Logan Johnson and Adam Wilkins also advanced to state Wednesday by defeating Askab Ahmed and Cody Jones of Glasgow 6-2, 6-3.
Johnson and Wilkins would go on to fall in the semifinals against Noah Flener and Brandon Lee of BGHS, who had eliminated Jonathan Bunnell and Hayden Rickard of Barren County earlier in the day.
Play is scheduled to resume at 4 p.m. today at Kereiakes Park.