Here’s a tough job: Selecting best athletes from so many

Selecting an all-county basketball team is never easy.

Selecting one in a year when three local teams win sectional championships doesn’t make it easier.

So many accomplished teams, so many deserving players, so many tough decisions.

So be it.

Touch decisions come with the territory — especially in a territory with so many competitive girls basketball teams.

For only the second time in history, the county boasted a sectional champion in three different classes. Center Grove won in Class 4A. Indian Creek won in Class 3A. And Edinburgh won in Class A.

If the county had a Class 2A school, which it doesn’t, it might have hit for the sectional cycle.

At any rate, the county has six public high schools. Half were sectional champions. The county’s lone private high school, Greenwood Christian Academy, finished 15-10 and was one of four local teams to have winning records.

Indian Creek, Greenwood and Whiteland were the others.

Interestingly, two teams that won sectionals — Center Grove and Edinburgh — did not have winning records but literally saved their best for last.

And in the gear-up to the postseason, that’s all that matters.

Take Center Grove, for example.

Momentum wasn’t exactly on the Trojans’ side heading into the sectional. They lost five of their six regular-season games, a combination of a tough schedule, inexperience and the absence of senior leader Lauren Rau (appendicitis) but caught fire at the right time.

Rau returned from surgery in time for the sectional, and the Trojans found their stride. They beat Franklin in the semifinals and survived a 90-85 overtime thriller against Greenwood in the championship final.

Then it was off to the regional, where the Trojans — who were 12-12 at the time — nearly shocked the state. They took the state’s No. 1 team, Columbus North, into overtime before losing 69-58 on the Bull Dogs’ home court.

Clearly, the Center Grove team that ended the season was not the same team that started it. The Trojans came within a few minutes of possibly playing for a state championship.

In similar fashion, Edinburgh also saved its best for last.

Despite losing six of their final eight regular-season games, the Lancers beat Greenwood Christian Academy in the semifinal of the Morristown Sectional, then rallied for a 63-57 overtime win against the tournament-host Yellow Jackets in the championship game.

With the victory, the Lancers earned only their second sectional title in team history. They went on to lose to fifth-ranked Tindley in the semifinal of the Southwestern Regional.

Indian Creek? The Braves didn’t necessarily save their best for last. They were terrific all season.

But they did work postseason magic in a sectional field they were — despite being hosts — not projected to win.

In order, according to Sagarin ratings, Ritter and Danville were the favorites. But the Braves rallied for wins against both, vanquishing Ritter in the semifinals and edging defending champion Danville in the final.

So after a postseason like that, it’s easy to understand why selecting an all-county team was a particularly daunting challenge. So many deserving candidates from so many successful teams made for many difficult choices.

Yet the legacy of the 2015-16 girls basketball season wasn’t about individuals. It was about teams. Each had something to celebrate. Local fans can be proud of all them.

Johnson County was, in many ways, an all-county team.

Author photo
Rick Morwick is sports editor of the Daily Journal. He can be reached at or 317-736-2715.