DAILY JOURNAL SPORTS CORRESPONDENT
Center Grove and Franklin breezed to wins in Friday’s semifinals of the girls tennis sectional.
Tournament-host Center Grove beat defending champion Greenwood 5-0, and Franklin defeated Indian Creek 4-1.
Center Grove will play Franklin at 9 a.m. today for the championship.
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Ranked No. 12, the host Trojans (12-7) are bidding for their 26th sectional title and looking to end a three-year championship drought.
Longtime Center Grove coach Debby Burton is confident the Trojans are peaking at the right time.
“The girls have been working really hard and have had some really good practices this week, plus they’ve been listening,” Burton said. “We’re not perfect, and by no means are we the best, but with their work ethic they’re getting to be where they need to be, and at the same time (are) starting to see some of the strategies we’re talking about are working.
“This is a rough time of the school year for any spring athlete. We wanted to make sure we had short, concise and focused practices this week and hitting the kind of shots we need to hit.”
With strong play at each singles position, and the doubles teams in rhythm, the Trojans had little trouble with Greenwood (9-9).
At No. 1 singles, freshman Isabella Schoolcraft defeated junior Abby Chatham, 6-2, 6-2.
“We took advantage of the extra days of practice because of the rain-delay,” Schoolcraft said of the Trojans’ strong team performance. “We really worked on serves and pushed ourselves to put some pressure on these teams we’re having to play.
“We’ve grown so much and really came together more as a team and everyone is putting in the extra effort to get better and that’s when we started doing really well.
At No. 2 singles, Center Grove sophomore Katelyn Gray got a good challenge from Woodmen sophomore Molly Jacobs but prevailed 7-5, 6-1. And at No. 3 singles, Center Grove sophomore Maddie Weeks beat freshman Maddie Bright, a 6-0, 6-0.
At No. 1 doubles, junior Madison Smeathers and freshman Cassidy Hardin defeated junior Allison Newman and Alyssa Roscoe 6-3, 6-2. And at No. 2 doubles, sophomores Bailey Sammons and Carleigh Hardin got past juniors Sadie Brooks and Joanna Moran, 6-2, 6-3.
Franklin (12-5), meanwhile, was efficient in its victory against Indian Creek.
At No. 2 singles, senior Morgan McCarter, beat Indian Creek senior Allyson Smith 7-5, 6-2.
Senior Lexi Hash won at No. 3 singles, defeating Indian Creek freshman Lacie Tekulve 6-0, 6-2.
The Grizzly Cubs’ doubles teams also were victorious.
At No. 1, seniors Ashlyn Smith and Katelyn Bemis improved their season record to 17-3 by defeating senior Katie Huter and junior Baylee Wilson, 6-0, 6-2. And at No. 2, junior Nina Biasi and sophomore Kaitlyn Ogden pushed their season record to 19-0 with a 6-2, 6-3 win against senior Raven Danz and sophomore McKayla Russell.
Indian Creek’s lone point came at No. 1 singles, where junior Candace Danz defeated freshman Abigail Smith 6-2, 6-3 to keep her sectional bid alive in individual tournament play.
“She’s been play really well all year long,” Braves’ coach Ryan Posey said. “She started at two singles and moved up to one singles, and she’s performed pretty well. She’s a super athlete. Anyone would know that by watching her play basketball.
“She’s more athletic than anybody out here.”
Indian Creek finished 11-7 overall and won the Mid-Hoosier Conference title with a 7-0 record in league play.