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Early test: Woodmen hope to cut down own nets


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Greenwood girls basketball coach Debbie Guckenberger is cautiously optimistic about the Woodmen's chances of winning the Johnson County Tournament championship, which tips off tonight. Greenwood hosts the semifinal and championship rounds. Photo by Scott Roberson
Greenwood girls basketball coach Debbie Guckenberger is cautiously optimistic about the Woodmen's chances of winning the Johnson County Tournament championship, which tips off tonight. Greenwood hosts the semifinal and championship rounds. Photo by Scott Roberson


It speaks to the newness of the 2012-13 girls basketball season that the six teams competing for the Johnson County Tournament championship have played a total of 14 games.

Ten were victories, which speaks to the tournament’s overall balance.

First-round action takes place tonight with Edinburgh (0-2) at Indian Creek (1-1) and Franklin (2-0) at Whiteland (1-1). The field’s top two seeds, defending champion Center Grove (3-0) and Greenwood (2-0), won’t play until Thursday’s semifinal round.

Greenwood hosts the semifinals as well as Saturday night’s title game, a fact that makes life a tad less stressful for the Woodmen.

If you go

What: Johnson County Girls Basketball Tournament

Schedule

Today

7 p.m.: Edinburgh at Indian Creek

7 p.m.: Franklin at Whiteland

Thursday

At Greenwood

6 p.m.: Greenwood vs. Edinburgh/Indian Creek winner

7:30 p.m.: Center Grove vs. Franklin/Whiteland winner

Saturday

At Greenwood

4:30 p.m.: Fifth-place game

6 p.m.: Third-place game

7:30 p.m.: Championship game

Admission: $5 per session

“Whenever you play at home, it’s always a little bit of an advantage,” said 10th-year Greenwood coach Debbie Guckenberger, whose team continues to ride the momentum of last season’s 20-3 finish with convincing wins against Bloomington North and Beech Grove. “But if you look at the history of this tournament, the home team doesn’t win it very often.”

A year ago, it was Center Grove winning it at Franklin. The season before the Grizzly Cubs cut the nets at Edinburgh.

Guckenberger, who like a lot of coaches isn’t terribly fond of the timing of the tournament, hopes her players are up to the challenge of reversing this trend.

“I don’t think any of the coaches in the county are excited about when the tournament is, but it does give you something to shoot for early in the season,” Guckenberger said. “From the beginning you have to focus. From that point, it’s a positive.”

Center Grove takes the floor in the semifinals with a 3-0 mark for the first time since 2009-10, Shawn Sanders’ first year as head coach. The Trojans defeated Greenwood 46-36 in last season’s county title game.

The Woodmen then went on to produce an eight-game winning streak. Twice they exacted revenge later in the season with 10- and 3-point victories against the Trojans, the latter in a Class 4A sectional semifinal game.

Greenwood then defeated Franklin in the title game for the program’s first sectional championship.

“Last year’s success gave us something to build on and just a lot of confidence,” Guckenberger said. “Once we won the (Mid-State) Conference, that gave us confidence, and we carried that through the sectional.”

Six seniors — including three starters: Deauna Evans, Chloe Orrvar and Kelsie Ratliff — give the Woodmen a veteran presence Guckenberger hopes proves beneficial this week and beyond.

“We can’t wait. We want to win (county) this year and go out with a bang,” said Orrvar, the Woodmen’s 5-foot-10 forward who is capable of stepping back and draining the perimeter shot. “I thought we played real well as a team in our first game against Bloomington North.

“We’re all on the same page.”

The Franklin-Whiteland rivalry has been extremely even in recent seasons. The programs have played 17 times since the 2000-01 season, with the Cubs holding a slim 9-8 advantage. Edinburgh, meanwhile, is hopeful of snapping what is a long losing streak to Indian Creek.

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