Whiteland gets close but can’t quite catch Center Grov'

On a night made for comebacks, Whiteland wasn’t about to be outdone.

In the end, though, it was defending Johnson County Tournament champion Center Grove punching its ticket to yet another title game, the Trojans holding on for a 51-47 victory Friday at Edinburgh.

Leading by 18 points after three periods, the Trojans held on for dear life as their bitter county rival closed to within three points with 1:03 remaining. Whiteland missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer, and the Trojans ended the suspense with 3-of-4 free-throw shooting inside the final 18.9 seconds.

“I thought we played very well for three quarters but couldn’t finish the deal. We wanted 32 minutes tonight, and we got 24,” Center Grove coach Cliff Hawkins said. “But we’re really proud to be in the championship game.”

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