Center Grove and Franklin will battle for the Johnson County boys tennis championship at 4:30 p.m. today after registering semifinal wins against Greenwood and Whiteland, respectively, at Center Grove on Wednesday.
The Trojans marched to a 5-0 win against the Woodmen, while the Grizzly Cubs edged the Warriors 3-2.
Although Center Grove sealed its match early, the No. 1 singles contest between Trojans junior Conner Andersen and Greenwood senior Alex Hammer was fiercely contested.
Andersen got off to a quick start by winning the first set 6-3, thanks in large part to unforced errors by Hammer. But Hammer roared back in the second to go up 4-1.
Andersen ultimately held on for 7-6 second-set victory by winning a 7-5 tie-breaker.
“It came down to some of the big points, and I was able to play well,” Andersen said. “I came up with the points I needed when I needed them the most.
“I’ve incorporated a lot of drop shots into my game, which gives me that much more to compete with.”
Although disappointed in the loss, Hammer said he was pleased with his performance.
“I started to play a lot better in that second set after struggling a bit in the first set, but he got me in the end,” Hammer said. “I’ve got to do a better job serving and eliminating double faults.”
Center Grove freshman Peter Golder had a tough match with Greenwood sophomore Zach Lester, as well. Golder won the match 6-0, 6-7 (8) and 10-4 in a super tie-breaker.
Another Trojans freshman, Alex Sorley, got by Greenwood freshman Jack O’Reilly in the No. 3 singles match, 6-3, 6-4.
First off the court for Center Grove was the No. 1 doubles team of junior Cam Schoolcraft and senior Vaughn Knutson. They defeated Greenwood senior Anthony Miller and sophomore Bradely Rothaar, 6-2, 6-0.
The Trojans’ No. 2 doubles team of junior Drew Walterman and sophomore Tye Thixton won in straight sets against Greenwood senior Cole Simmerman and freshman Alex Walsh, 6-4,6-0.
With the win, Center Grove improved its overall record to 4-5, and Greenwood drops to the identical record.
Franklin (8-2), off to an impressive start, kept its momentum rolling by beating Mid-State Conference and county rival Whiteland for the second time this season.
Cubs freshman Noah Roberts, who’ll go up against Andersen today, breezed to a 6-1, 6-1 win against junior Collin Scott.
Franklin got its second and third team point to decide the match early when senior Dylan Smith beat Whiteland freshman Adam Zietlow in the No. 3 singles match, 6-1, 6-3, and Franklin’s No. 2 doubles team of senior Trent Hyneman and junior Jake Vandivier defeated Whiteland junior Logan Robinson and sophomore Blake Surface 6-4, 6-2.
Warriors senior Jared Adkins triumphed in the No. 2 singles match against Franklin sophomore Travis Nerding 7-6 (5), 11-9 in a super-tiebreaker.
Whiteland (4-6) also won its No. 1 doubles match as sophomore Sam Venter and senior Jacob Scott outlasted Franklin senior Casey Smith and junior Jacob Zachary 4-6, 7-6 (4), 11-9.
Greenwood and Whiteland will meet in the consolation match.