Franklin Central has won 17 boys basketball sectionals, including four straight inside three different gymnasiums (Center Grove, Whiteland and Martinsville).
With the Flashes hosting Class 4A’s Sectional 13 starting Feb. 28, they finally have familiarity on their side.
“I think Franklin Central playing at home, they are the favorite. Everything points toward them,” said Franklin coach Brad Dickey, whose Grizzly Cubs (13-7) drew a bye and face the FC-Greenwood (11-10) winner in the first semifinal on March 3.
“They always win it. Center Grove has had a great season, and we are playing well. We’ve done enough work to give ourselves hopefulness. Our guys are competitors.”
Franklin Central’s 8-12 record is deceptive considering coach John Rockey’s club was forced to forfeit four victories after using an ineligible backup player.
The Flashes’ first-round match-up with the Woodmen promises to be emotional.
Last month, Greenwood coach Bruce Hensley announced this season, his 28th, would be his last leading the program for which he once played.
And this is just the top half of the bracket.
Opening night’s second game has two-time defending Johnson County Tournament champion Whiteland (14-6) squaring off against Martinsville (5-14).
Whichever squad prevails qualifies for the second semifinal against Center Grove (13-7). The Trojans, like Franklin, drew a bye.
In Class 3A, Indian Creek (13-8), a ballclub that has run hot and cold all season, takes part in the Danville Sectional. The Braves play March 1 against Beech Grove (15-6), a program they did not see during the regular season.
In fact, Indian Creek is the only one of the seven programs in Sectional 28 not to have played at least one of the other sectional teams. This, too, is a wide-open sectional as the Braves are one of five squads with no less than 13 victories so far.
The county’s two Class A programs, Edinburgh (6-16) and Greenwood Christian Academy (7-14), could potentially meet in the semifinal round of Sectional 59 at Edinburgh.
GCA drew a bye, while the Lancers open Feb. 28 against Morristown (14-6). Edinburgh lost at home to the Yellow Jackets, 81-36, on Jan. 27.