Trojans draw host Martinsville in sectional opener

The Dec. 13 girls basketball showdown between Center Grove and Martinsville went down to the wire, with Allison Utterback scoring the winning basket for the Trojans just before the final buzzer.

(Or, depending on whether you’re asking a fan of the Artesians, maybe just a bit after it.)

Martinsville’s players and coaches were pretty emotional after that game — but they’ll have a chance at revenge right away. When the IHSAA girls basketball tournament draw was revealed on Sunday evening, the Trojans and Artesians were matched up in the first round of the Class 4A Martinsville Sectional.

“For us to win in the manner that we did, I know there was emotions on both sides,” Center Grove coach Shawn Sanders said of the teams’ first meeting. “If they weren’t motivated before, that loss has definitely created motivation for them.”

That game will be the nightcap of a quarterfinal doubleheader Feb. 1. Franklin and Whiteland will square off in that evening’s opener, the third meeting this season between the two County and Mid-State Conference rivals.

On the other side of the Martinsville Sectional draw, Greenwood will face New Palestine in a first-round game Jan. 31, with the winner taking on Franklin Central in a Feb. 3 semifinal.

Though the Center Grove-Martinsville matchup pits arguably the top two teams in the sectional against one another right away, Sanders is viewing the tough draw as a positive.

“You can focus your entire preparation on them, so I like that,” he noted. “We can completely focus our attention on preparation for them instead of a 24-hour turnaround.”

Indian Creek, a regional qualifier last year, begins play in the Class 3A Indianapolis Northwest Sectional against winless Indianapolis Washington on Jan. 31. Should the Braves win that game, they will move on to face Cardinal Ritter in the semifinal round on Feb. 3.

In the Class A Morristown Sectional, Greenwood Christian opens up Jan. 31 against the host Yellow Jackets. The winner of that matchup advances to face defending sectional champion Edinburgh in a Feb. 3 semifinal.

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Ryan O'Leary is sports editor for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at roleary@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2715.