A lineup change caused by an injury helped boost Center Grove to another Johnson County Boys Tennis Tournament championship.
The host Trojans defeated Franklin 4-1 in Thursday’s championship match.
After missing two weeks because of a left-foot injury, junior Cam Schoolcraft returned to the court for Wednesday’s semifinal, but in an unexpected position. Rather than reclaiming his No. 2 singles slot, Schoolcraft joined senior Vaughn Knutson on the No. 1 doubles team for the tournament.
So far, the results have been impressive.
The duo topped Franklin’s Casey Smith and Jacob Zachary, 6-1, 6-0. Schoolcraft and Knutston lost only two games in Wednesday’s semifinals win against Greenwood.
Schoolcraft, who had been exclusively a singles player in his Center Grove career, said he has enjoyed his first week as a doubles player.
“It’s a fun change,” he said. “The two games are very different. You kind of get to boost each other up and have fun with it, as well.”
He stressed, however, that position change is temporary.
“This is a process I’m going to take to slowly come back to the game,” Schoolcraft said. “I’ll still play singles later on (this season).”
For Knutson, gaining a new partner midway through the season has not been a distraction.
“It’s not a huge change because I’ve had a couple of different partners the last two years,” he said. “So I’m used to adjusting.”
In fact, having Schoolcraft as a partner has helped Vaughn to relax on the court.
“Cam is a really good player, so honestly it takes a lot of pressure off of me to have to perform at an even higher level,” Knutson said.
Center Grove (5-5) was dominant in their other three match wins.
Junior Conner Anderson blanked Franklin freshman Noah Roberts 6-0, 6-0 in No. 1 singles. Peter Golder, a freshman, added a point at No. 2 singles, topping Travis Nerding 6-1, 6-1.
In the No. 2 doubles match, Trojans Tye Thixton and Casey Fellers got past Franklin’s Trent Hyneman and Jake Vandivier 6-2, 6-2.
The Grizzly Cubs’ (8-3) lone point came at No. 3 singles, where senior Dylan Smith defeated freshman Alex Sorley, Knutson’s regular doubles partner, 6-4, 6-1.
Whiteland claimed third place with a 4-1 win against Greenwood in the consolation match.
The Warriors (5-6) earned their first point of the match in No. 1 doubles, where Sam Venter and Jacob Scott beat Anthony Miller and Bradley Rothaar 6-3, 6-0. The No. 2 doubles team of Logan Robinson and Noah Dixon knocked off Greenwood’s Cole Simmerman and Alex Walsh 6-2, 6-4. Jared Adkins beat Zach Lester in No. 2 singles 6-1, 6-1, and Adam Zietlow outlasted Jack O’Reilly in No. 3 singles 7-5, 7-6 (10-6).
Alex Hammer earned a point for the Woodmen (4-6) with a 6-3, 6-3 win against Collin Scott in No. 1 singles.