An important era in Johnson County’s basketball history might have come to an end Tuesday night.
Center Grove’s 69-32 victory against visiting Edinburgh in the first round of the Johnson County Boys Basketball Tournament likely will go in the books as the final varsity game played at venerable West Gymnasium.
The 60,000-square-foot activities complex expected to be added onto the high school’s southeastern end will take away the parking availability needed to accommodate varsity-sized crowds be it girls or boys basketball.
Center Grove gave its octagon-shaped facility the proper sendoff with four players scoring in double figures and outrebounding the Lancers 39-19.
The Trojans (5-6) now set their sights on Friday’s 6 p.m. semifinal game at Indian Creek High School against Franklin, the tourney’s No. 2 seed.
Unable to shake the Lancers early Tuesday, Center Grove held a 58-25 scoring cushion over the final three quarters.
“Edinburgh is a team that prides itself on playing hard. I thought the first couple minutes they matched our intensity and got to some loose balls and offensive rebounds,” said Trojans coach Zach Hahn, whose program won the county title a year ago at Greenwood.
“But overall I thought we responded really well. I thought our effort, intensity and focus the second half was the way it needs to be every game. I thought we did a really good job making that adjustment after halftime.”
Center Grove held a 33-20 halftime lead after junior reserve guard Travis Roehling’s 55-foot rainbow heave a split-second ahead of the buzzer glanced off the glass and through.
Edinburgh still was hanging around at 5:11 of the second quarter after a jumper from sophomore forward Christian Cox trimmed the Trojans’ lead to 15-13.
The hosts gradually pulled away over the final 4:56 with six different players scoring in what was an 18-7 scoring run.
Edinburgh got as close as 10 points early in the third stanza at 35-25, but Hahn’s club closed with a 20-4 flurry including seven points coming from senior guard Bailey Barrett, six from senior forward Bryce Brown and five from guard Trevor Harrell to put the game away.
Barrett and 6-foot-5 freshman post Lucas Doyle both came off the bench to tie for team scoring honors with 11 points apiece. Roehling scored all 10 of his points in the first half, while 6-6 freshman center Trayce Jackson-Davis produced 10 points and a game-high nine boards.
Cox led Edinburgh (3-11) with 10 points followed by senior guard Kyle Pendleton with eight. Pendleton led the Lancers in rebounds with six, while Cox added five.
The Lancers struggled from the floor, hitting only 11 of 49 attempts (.224). Center Grove fared better at 24 of 51 (.471).
“I thought we played well for about a half, and then I think their physicality got to us a little bit. It looked like we wore down, and they hit a few shots,” Edinburgh coach Drew Glentzer said.
“Center Grove is a nice team. Obviously, their size was a big problem for us. We knew they were going to be patient when basically we don’t have anyone over 6-2.”