Local sectionals should be competitive

Center Grove doesn’t have the best record, but it does have the shortest rout to the final.

It also has home-court advantage.

In total, the Class 4A girls sectional basketball draw added up to good news for the defending champion Trojans.

Heavy graduation losses, coupled with a tough schedule that included only one non-Class 4A opponent, has led to a mediocre record for the Trojans heading into the postseason. They were 10-10 going into Tuesday’s game against visiting Greenwood.

They conclude the regular season Thursday night against visiting Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference rival Lawrence North (16-3).

So what does it all mean for the sectional?

If records are an indication, it means the tournament is literally up for grabs.

Heading into Tuesday night, Greenwood was 12-9, Whiteland was 12-8, Martinsville was 13-7 and New Palestine was 15-6. The only sub-.500 teams are Franklin (8-13) and Franklin Central (5-16).

But no one should be discounted.

Franklin is a dangerous team that would no doubt like to send coach Walt Raines out as a sectional champion. He is retiring from coaching after 28 seasons with the Grizzly Cubs.

Franklin Central is down but has a proud sectional tradition. The Flashes have won three titles since 2010 and also had won three of its past five games heading into Tuesday night.

As evidenced by all of the above, there might not be “favorite” in this field. New Palestine has the best record but is 1-2 against sectional opponents.

Greenwood beat the Dragons 48-42 on Nov. 10, and more recently Whiteland handed them a 51-41 defeat on Jan. 16.

So stay tuned. This has all the makings of a terrific local sectional.

The games begin Feb. 2, when Franklin plays Martinsville. The following night, Greenwood plays Franklin Central, and New Palestine gets another shot at Whiteland.

Center Grove, which drew a first-round bye, plays Feb. 5 against the winner of the Franklin/Martinsville matchup. The Games 2 and 3 winners in the other semifinal.

The championship final is Feb. 6.

But the Center Grove sectional isn’t the only local sectional. Indian Creek is a Class 3A host.

Not only that, it’s safe to the call the Braves a favorite. Or at the very least, a contender.

Indian Creek has the best record in the field at 15-4. But defending champion Danville is 15-7, and Ritter is 16-5. Beech Grove is 11-10.

Indian Creek plays a first-round game Feb. 2 against Washington (3-11).

In Class A, Edinburgh and Greenwood Christian Academy are part of what appears to be a wide-open field, as well.

Arlington has the best record at 13-7, followed by Greenwood Christian at 12-9. All the other teams are below .500, including Edinburgh at 7-13.

But in a field that includes tournament host Morristown (7-13), Central Christian (9-13) and Lutheran (6-13), no team should be discounted here, either.

Like the Center Grove field, this one is up for grabs.

Franklin College women tabbed second

The Franklin College women’s track and field team is projected to finish second in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference, according to a preseason vote of league coaches.The defending champion Grizzlies received two first-place votes. Manchester received the remaining eight.Franklin’s top performers include two local athletes in senior Ashley Myers and junior Erica Christy.

Myers, an Edinburgh graduate, is the Grizzlies’ top distance runner and field jumper.

Christy, a Greenwood graduate, is the HCAC’s top thrower. She was named the HCAC Indoor Athlete of the Week after winning the shot put and weight throw at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Invitational.

Myers, Christy and senior sprinter Kasey King from South Ripley High School are on the HCAC’s preseason Athletes to Watch list.

Rick Morwick is sports editor of the Daily Journal. He can be reached at rmorwick@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2715.