Brown doubles up with Shklyar for league crown
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
TENNIS — When Major League Baseball’s American League managers want to rest their sluggers, they DH them.
Deerfield High School sophomore Jason Brown, normally a racket-wielding No. 1 singles player, got designated to rip shots in doubles during the CSL North conference tournament at Glenbrook North.
It allowed him to rest, a little.
“It can be an emotional and physical grind, playing No. 1 singles all year,” said Josh Leighton, Brown’s skipper. “It’s a good time in the season for a break. And besides, we like to give a lot of our guys the opportunities to play singles and doubles.”
Leighton deployed Brown at No. 1 doubles, with then-junior Alec Siegel, in last year’s league meet.
The result: first place.
A rerun, with a different partner.
Brown and senior Ben Shklyar topped the No. 1 doubles field, defeating Highland Park’s Jordan Hainsfurther/David Zak 1-6, 6-1, 6-2 in the final.
“Ben and I had fun, a lot of fun,” said Brown, who finished third at State in singles last spring. “It took us a while to find a good rhythm in the final, but once we did, we were fine. I like playing doubles, because it allows me to relax a bit and work on stuff I’ll need in singles for the rest of the season: aggressive serves, aggressive volleys.”
Brown finished a lot of points from the baseline last year, thanks to his penetrating groundstrokes. He’s mixing it up more this year, Leighton noted.
And relying on a variety of weapons.
“His serve has improved, and so have his volleys,” Leighton said. “Especially his volleys. The pace from the baseline is still there, and it’s faster than it was last year; his ball hops a little more these days. You can trace all of that to Jason’s commitment to fitness in the offseason. He did a lot of lifting and running. And he worked hard on his footwork.”
Leighton’s Warriors went to work at the CSL North tourney and accomplished quite a feat: first place (10 points), ahead of runner-up Highland Park (8). Deerfield and Highland Park tied for first place overall (CSL North duals, league tourney) last May.
Deerfield, which beat HP 4-3 in a dual on May 4, didn’t have to share league hardware this year.
“It was nice to be the undisputed team champion this time,” said Brown, now 3-for-3 in CSL North tourneys; he captured the No. 2 singles title as a freshman.
Deerfield won two other flights at the CSL North gathering. Sophomore Toby Ma beat Glenbrook North’s Brian Levitas 6-3, 6-0 in the No. 1 singles final after facing a 3-2 first-set deficit. Siegel, meanwhile, was oh-so-good at No. 2 singles. Make that, oh-oh good. He skipped to a pair of 6-0, 6-0 victories; Glenbrook North’s Adam Spector got blanked in the final.
“Toby is having a very good year,” Leighton said. “He’s playing very good No. 1s, very good No. 2s. His forehand has come a long way, and it’s more of a weapon this year. He uses it to open up the court.”
Four Warriors entrants netted runner-up honors: Nate Klein (No. 3 singles); Jeremy Jacobson/Jack Kasbeer (No. 2 doubles); Steven Cohen/Sam Sylvan (No. 3 doubles); and Alex Rabin/Andy Fine (No. 4 doubles).
The final at No. 4 doubles was Space-Mountain-rollercoaster wild. Highland Park’s Josh Glikin/Danny Wynbrandt won it 6-4, 0-6, 6-3. The pair of Giants started with a 3-0 lead and then lost nine of the next 10 games.
In the third set, after falling behind 3-0, Glikin/Wynbrandt won six straight games.
“Nearly every game was a deuce game,” said Leighton. “Long, long games and great doubles points. All four guys were poaching a lot and moving well. It was exciting, entertaining.”
On the schedule: Deerfield vies for State berths at the Highland Park Sectional, beginning at 1 p.m. Friday.
Leighton’s lineup: Brown and Ma in singles; Shklyar/Siegel and Jacobson/Kasbeer in doubles.
Other schools in the field, in addition to the host: Lake Forest, Libertyville, Mundelein, Carmel, Wheeling, Wauconda and North Chicago.
LF (32 points) finished runner-up to Stevenson (36) in this year’s NSC conference tournament.
Flashback: Deerfield and HP each scored a meet-best 21 points at last year’s Deerfield Sectional. But HP was declared sectional champion because the Giants won 75 percent of the games they played; Deerfield won 72 percent.