Callahan, East lead BNL
to 4-1 victory over Salem
By Justin Sokeland
Together, they have banded a team into brothers, and that’s reflective of the success Bedford North Lawrence is enjoying on the asphalt courts this season.
On this Senior Night (an early celebration because BNL will host two matches in the Hoosier Hills Conference Tournament next week), it was appropriate for upperclassmen Brandt Callahan and Alex East to walk off as winners and celebrate. They have earned it.
Callahan posted a victory at No.2 singles, while East teamed with constant partner Corbin Bushey to lead the Stars to a 4-1 win over short-handed Salem on Thursday afternoon.
The Lions, thanks to IHSAA paperwork and eligibility rules, lack a complete team, and they surrendered No.3 singles as a forfeit. Salem (3-8) has found it difficult to win when starting in a hole, but BNL made sure that didn’t matter with some quality play.
Callahan stopped Landon Suvak 6-1, 7-5, while East and Bushey combined for a 7-5, 6-0 triumph over Cody Blackwell and Evan Shelby at No.1 doubles. The Stars completed a doubles sweep as Isaac Titche and Kishan Patel dominated Josiah Gahimer and Gavin Fleming 6-0, 6-1 at No.2.
BNL improved to 12-4 and still has the school record for wins in a season (15) within range. BNL coach Donnie Thomas pointed to the senior leadership as a primary reason for the surge.
“They’re a couple of great kids,” Thomas said. “Both are great leaders, they’re good on the court and off the court. They treat the freshmen like younger brothers. They bring the best out. They’ve put a lot of wins together.”
Callahan (now 13-3 as an individual) relied on his powerful serve, pushing points with that weapon. His mental toughness was also a factor as he rallied from an early deficit in the second set.
“It feels great, coming out here and being a senior leader,” he said. “In the last regular-season home match, you definitely want to go out with a win.”
East and Bushey went the other direction. They struggled in the first set, then clicked.
“I finally got relaxed,” East said. “Not so much that it was the last home match, but that we were coming off a loss. That was real tough. We wanted to prove that we’re still just as good. It means the world. I love playing. I just wanted to play my game.”
Salem’s lone victory came at No.1 singles as Jaelen Nice stopped Ian Dillman 6-1, 6-3.
The Stars will compete in the Edgewood Tournament on Saturday before returning home to face Jeffersonville in the first round of the HHC on Monday.
BNL 4, Salem 1
Singles: 1. Jaelen Nice, S d. Ian Dillman 6-1, 6-3; 2. Brandt Callahan, BNL d. Landon Suvak 6-1, 7-5; 3. BNL won by forfeit
Doubles: 1. Alex East and Corbin Bushey, BNL d. Cody Blackwell and Evan Shelby 7-5, 6-0; 2. Isaac Titche and Kishn Patel, BNL d. Josiah Gahimer and Gavin Fleming 6-0, 6-1