Stifling defense, scoring balance and fundamentally sound play had been trademarks of Center Grove’s girls basketball team this season. Tuesday, a team with similar strengths eliminated the Trojans abruptly from sectional play.
Class 4A No. 9 Franklin Central forced the Trojans into 19 turnovers, 28.9 percent field-goal shooting and never let Center Grove draw closer than six points in the second half as the Flashes won at the Franklin Sectional, 48-40.
Franklin Central (17-4) advances to play New Palestine (3-17) in Friday’s semifinal. Center Grove’s season ended at 15-6, the program’s most wins since the 2006-07 squad finished 19-7 and won a regional title.
The Flashes also defeated the Trojans 68-57 on Dec. 27, but Franklin Central still had revenge on its minds. Center Grove eliminated the Flashes in last year’s sectional opener, 40-38.
“When the girls found out they were going to play Center Grove, they were pretty excited,” Franklin Central coach Brian Hacker said. “They wanted to avenge last year.”
Franklin Central led throughout, building 5-0 and 8-2 leads. The key stretch might have been a 7-0 run that spanned the first and second halves.