The more serious their matches got, the more their competitive instincts took over.
The brothers still love playing each other but can’t stand losing to one another.
“They are not friendly matches — no, no,” said Jaryd Reese, the most recent North Cobb ace and 2013 Marietta Daily Journal/Cobb County Boys Tennis Player of the Year. “It’s a family rivalry. We get after it when we play.”
Jaryd, who is more of an extrovert than Hunter, is a more aggressive player who likes to end points sooner rather than later. But he usually falls victim to the more laid-back Hunter, who likes to grind it out from the baseline and keep points going as long as possible.
What’s most frustrating about playing his older brother, Jaryd said, is that what would be a sure winner, Hunter finds a way to smack the ball right back, extending the point.
“He could stay out there all day,” Jaryd said.
Having grown up playing against a relentless counter-puncher like Hunter ended up paying off in the long run for Jaryd. He also gets the last laugh when it comes to leading North Cobb to a state championship appearance, a feat Hunter couldn’t accomplish.
Jaryd was arguably the Warriors’ most clutch player this season, finishing with an 18-1 record at No. 1 singles. He has no regrets about how his North Cobb career ended, even with the Warriors falling 3-0 to Brookwood.
“We finally broke the final four curse,” Reese said, referencing North Cobb’s football, volleyball and both basketball teams coming up short in the state semifinals.
One of Reese’s bigger learning curves of the season came when he lost to Hillgrove’s Matt Hill. Reese let a first-set lead slip away before he fell 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 to Hill, a baseline grinder like his older brother.
It turned out to be Reese’s only loss of the season, and he was determined not to lose to Hill again when they met against the Region 4AAAAAA tournament.
Reese came out aggressive and won the first set by the same score of his previous meeting with Hill. This time, however, he clamped down in the second set and came off the court a 6-3, 6-2 winner. Reese took charge in the second set by breaking Hill’s serve consecutive times to take a commanding 4-0 lead.
Reese’s 6-3, 6-3 over Kennesaw Mountain’s Aaron Barris in the state quarterfinals was a much tougher feat than the score indicated, as was his 6-2, 6-2 win over Peachtree Ridge’s Alex Makarenko in the state semifinals.
Ranked 12th in the state and 62nd in the Southeast, Reese will begin the next chapter of his tennis career in the fall, when he heads to play at Jacksonville State.