It’s not a county tourney minus Edinburgh, Greenwood Christian

In a perfect world, the 2015 Johnson County boys basketball tournament would be opening Tuesday night with high hopes, near-sellout crowds and seven teams.

Greenwood Christian Academy would be part of the mix, placing Edinburgh in the unfamiliar position of being the second-smallest school.

Two potential Milans, no waiting. Let the games begin.

Unfortunately, Greenwood Christian Academy, now in its ninth season as an IHSAA member, continues to wait for a county tournament invitation not guaranteed to arrive.

Which brings us to Edinburgh, which is giving serious thought to taking its ball and going home.

The blind draw vs. seeding debate — Edinburgh opts for the former and may not take part after honoring the final year of its contact (2015-16) — is threatening to push the event toward irrelevance.

What should be seven might soon be five.

Sad, really.

That’s not a knock against the schools much larger than Edinburgh (Center Grove, Franklin Community, Whiteland and Greenwood). Nor is it a criticism of the school closest to Edinburgh in terms of enrollment and sense of community (Indian Creek).

Really, though, what is a county tournament without every one of that county’s programs taking part?

Lose Edinburgh and continue ignoring GCA and the pull-for-the-underdog element that once made Indiana high school basketball so universally revered vanishes.

It can be argued Edinburgh, despite being the smallest entry, possesses the most ardent fan base. Lancers fans are supportive whether their team is 8-2, 1-9 or something in-between, so their absence could be felt when dollars are being counted after a champion is crowned.

Edinburgh athletics director David Walden wants a blind draw to determine pairings the way postseason brackets have been drawn for as long as anyone can remember.

Others such as Indian Creek athletics director Justin Ray and longtime Greenwood boys basketball coach Bruce Hensley also see the benefits of this approach; the remaining athletics directors prefer to keep the tournament seeded as a measure of ensuring the best matchups all three days of the event.

Walden’s wish for a blind draw might be a pipe dream at this point. He’s outnumbered and knows it, but isn’t backing down.

Is it possible to blind draw the pairings starting next season and every even-numbered year after that? Then seed it odd-numbered years starting with the 2017 county tournament?

Not the greatest compromise, I realize, but better than nothing.

The tournament vanished for 39 years before making a comeback in 2004-05 with Franklin edging Center Grove, 67-66, in the championship game.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed it’s not going away again anytime soon. Thirty-nine years is a long time.

“I think like everyone else when it came back you were excited to see it,” said Hensley, now in his 26th season with the Woodmen. “I would like to see a blind draw. I’m just kind of old-school. If you’re good enough to win it, you’re good enough to win it.”

Maybe if this controversy ever goes away the powers that be can find a way so that the girls aren’t playing their county tournament in late-November.

But that’s a different column for another day.

Author photo
Mike Beas is a sports writer for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at