Watching Franklin win the Johnson County Boys Tennis Tournament title on his home court last year didn’t sit well with Center Grove junior Trey Thixton.

On Thursday, he decided to do something about it.

Thixton battled his way past Jonah Rockey at No. 1 singles, 6-3, 5-7, 6-3, to help the Trojans reclaim the county crown from the defending champion Grizzly Cubs 4-1.

“It felt really good to finally get the championship back where it belongs,” Thixton said after picking up the winning point for host Center Grove.

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Points were at a premium on a day when most matches could have gone either way.

The Trojans (7-5) struck first with a quick point at No. 1 doubles, where Eli Lawyer-Smith and Mitch Runkle posted a 6-1, 6-1 win against Andy Bennett and Corbin Burton, but Franklin pulled even when Josiah Rockey finished off a 7-6 (10-8), 6-2 triumph against J.T. Embrey at third singles.

The three remaining matches all went to three sets.

Center Grove pulled out the first of those, with the No. 2 doubles team of Dhrumil Patel and Grant Herron bouncing back after losing a first-set tiebreaker to take the last two sets, 6-2 and 6-3.

In a position to close it out, Thixton didn’t falter. He regrouped after dropping the second set and seized the decisive point for the Trojans.

“My mindset really was just to trust myself and know that I can hit the shots that I can,” Thixton said of his ability to bounce back in the final set. “I really do have confidence that if I’m playing the way I know I can, that I am the best in Johnson County and I know I can clinch things like this.”

Nic Ballesteros finished off the Trojans’ victory by rallying to defeat Logan Snyder at No. 2 singles, 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 7-5.

Center Grove coach Ivan Smith, who the called the match an exhausting one for the players and the coaches, was happy to emerge from a crowded and balanced field with the title.

“It was a real good county tourney,” Smith said. “There was a lot of good matches, and it just kind of shows there’s parity in the county. We were fortunate to win. I’m glad we did, but we were fortunate to win.”

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