Don’t be fooled by their shared last name and jersey colors.
Andrew and Bailey Gong may be brothers playing for the same tennis team at Central Valley Christian, but their playing styles come in sharp contrast.
Sure, they each play the sport quite well, but they find quite different ways to do so.
Andrew is a bigger, stronger senior who has developed a power attacking offense. Bailey is a freshman who makes his proverbial hay with defense and ground strokes.
All these similarities and differences came to a head Saturday when the Gong brothers met in the Visalia Invitational Division 1 singles championship. Andrew won the match 6-2, 6-3.
CVC head coach Ryan Tos said he has seen the talented brothers hit with each other but has not seen them compete head-to-head. While he doesn’t get the impression it happens a lot, he does expect it to happen again this season in the Central Sequoia League singles championship.
Selma’s top two players Patrick Smith and Edsel Antunez took third as a doubles team and will likely keep clear of the singles bracket this postseason. That leaves Immanuel’s Aaron Reimer as one of the top challengers to the Gong brothers, and Bailey dispatched him 8-1 in the quarterfinals.
Andrew did not lose a game all tournament until Bailey won five against him in the finals. He uses a big serve and an attacking mindset to end points quickly. But Tos said Bailey likes the hard pace his brother hits at and returns it with plenty of pace himself.
“He’ll hit a few rockets and you’ll wonder, ‘Where did that come from,'” Tos said. “It’s hard to be a little brother of a guy who is really good. That brings high expectations and Bailey puts a lot of pressure on himself.”
One strength the Gong brothers share is experience. Tos said there are very few game situations they haven’t seen before, which makes his life as a coach fairly easy.
“They’re great kids who work really hard at it,” Tos said. “It’s not something they take for granted. They put in the work and reap rewards on the court.”
Andrew and Bailey aren’t the only brothers powering CVC tennis, as Tyler and Riley Thomas sit at No. 3 and 4 on the ladder.
Redwood’s Alex Gong lost to teammate Sam Lechtman 6-3, 6-4 in the Division 2 singles championship.
Porterville’s Mario Aguilar defeated El Diamante’s David Brown 8-3 for third place in Division 2.
Monache’s Rocky Phaphol and Matt Ecobeza defeated Sanger’s Robert Cardenas and Cooper Short 8-2 in the doubles championship.
Redwood won the tournament with 70 team points. CVC finished second (49) ahead of Monache (45), Porterville (44) and El Diamante (41). Golden West finished eighth (29) and Mt. Whitney finished 10th (18) out of a 24-team field.
Golden West 6, Hanford 3: Juan Carlos Silva won his match at No. 1 singles and the Trailblazers defeated the Bullpups in a West Yosemite League match Monday in Hanford.
Chuy Zamora, Matt Duyst and Leonel Cardenas each won their singles matches for the Trailblazers (7-2, 2-0).
Zamora and Duyst won at No. 2 doubles, and Brandon Romer and Dillon Barnett teamed up to win at No. 3 doubles.
Redwood 6, Hanford West 3: The Rangers won four singles matches and two doubles matches to defeat the Huskies in a WYL Monday in Hanford.
Dom Quintanilla, Alex Gong, Sam Lechtman and Miguel Garcia each won their singles matches for Redwood (5-4, 2-0).
Quintanilla and Garcia won at No. 2 doubles, while Mark Garcia and Jose Mercado won at No. 3 doubles.
Track and Field
Mt. Whitney Pioneer Invitational: Tulare Western’s Joe Herrera was awarded “Male Athlete of the Meet” for winning the 400-meter dash with a time of 48.90 seconds Saturday at Groppetti Stadium in Visalia. Herrera holds the top 400 time in the Central Section this season with a 48.75 at the Sanger Spring Classic.
Exeter’s Yesenia Silva was awarded “Female Athlete of the Meet” for her performances in the distance races. She won the 800 run (2:20.44) and the 3200 run (11:21.43). Her 800 time is the second best in the Central Section this season. On the boys side, Chad Zeibak won the long jump at 21 feet, one inch for the Monarchs, which is the second best jump in the Central Section this season.
Mt. Whitney’s Rianna Chavez won the 400 run (1:00.45) and the 300 hurdles (47.91). Her teammate Annmarie Gamez won the shot put (35-04). On the boys side, Ronnie Holley and Adam Franco took first (15.92) and second (16.05) in the 110 hurdles for the Pioneers.
El Diamante’s Katie Reeves won the high jump (5-04), the best jump in the Central Section this season. Her teammate Andrea Mann won the pole vault (9-06). On the boys side, Jacob Bilvado won the 1600 run (4:26.04) and the 3200 run (9:37.58) for the Miners. Bilvado’s 3200 time is the best in the Central Section this year.
Golden West won the 400 run (52.33) and 1600 run (4:16.57) relays. Angel Hill won the long jump (15-11.5) for the Trailblazers.
Redwood’s Aaron Andrade won the 300 hurdles (41.27).
Tulare Western’s Cyinna Booker won the triple jump (34-08). On the boys side, David Booker won the triple jump (44-08) for the Mustangs.
Cyinna’s jump was the second longest in the Central Section this season.
Tulare Union’s NaChelle Terry won the discus (108-09).
COS loses twice: The Giants lost two non-conference games Monday after starting the season 18-2.
Ohlone beat COS 8-0 as Klarissa Garcia produced the Giants’ only hit of the game.
Ohlone scored six runs in the third inning to power its victory.
Taylor Wright batted 2-for-3 with a RBI for COS. Honesty Rodriguez, Mayleen Mazon and Crystal Miller each doubled.
West Hills 5, COS 2: The Falcons completed a three-game sweep of the Giants in a game that was postponed from Saturday.
West Hills improved to 5-1 in the Central Valley Conference and 8-7 overall after beating COS in three straight games.
The Giants fell to 5-4 and 9-9.
Cole Compton took the loss for COS, giving up just one run on six hits in six innings of work.
Tyler Beardsley struggled in relief for COS, giving up four runs in just 2-3 innings.