Whiteland to defend title against Center Grove in repeat Johnson County tourney final


WHITELAND, Ind. (WTHR) - Center Grove routed Greenwood and Whiteland survived a comeback from Indian Creek Friday night to set up a repeat of last year’s Johnson County tournament final. The Warriors host the Trojans Saturday night at around 7:30 p.m. as part of a tripleheader at Whiteland. The fifth-place game between Franklin and Edinburgh tips at 4:30 p.m. That’s followed by the third place game between Greenwood and Indian Creek around 6:00 p.m.

Center Grove beat Greenwood by just six points two weeks ago, 58-52. The rematch in the Johnson County tourney semifinals was not nearly as close, 67-45. Travis Roehling made a strong start to help the Trojans to a double digit lead in the first quarter. Roehling scored 14 points. Spencer Piercefield led Center Grove with 21 points as the margin kept expanding. The Trojans led by 15 at halftime. Trayce Jackson-Davis added 10 points for Center Grove (7-4).

Eric Moenkhaus topped the Woodmen with 13 points, but Greenwood never made a serious comeback in the second half. Jeffrey Reynolds and Braydon Kincaid both added 10 points each for Greenwood (6-6).

The second semifinal was a repeat of last year’s semifinal between host Whiteland and Indian Creek. The Warriors won again, 67-63. The game was close most of the way, highlighted by a wacky play late in the first quarter. Jacob Leistner played good interior defense for Whiteland, but his deflection of a pass went into the basket for Indian Creek to tie the game at 18 after one quarter.

The Warriors led by 10 at halftime, but the undersized Braves kept coming back. Bryce Hogue led the way with a game-high 22 points on a variety of spin moves. Jared DeHart added 18 points and Tim Abel 10 for Indian Creek (8-4).

Whiteland fans love senior Mike Valle, for good reason. Valle scored 21 points as Warriors fans held up a giant photo of his face and chanted “Mike, Mike, Mike” in the student section.

After Hogue cut the deficit to 52-50 with a driving layup and foul, Valle answered with a strong post move and later a driving layup to seal the win.

Aaron Gross scored 15 points and Brennan Neal added 10 for Whiteland (8-2).

Last year, Whiteland beat Center Grove 48-46 to win the Johnson County tourney. That was the eighth county title for the Warriors, second only to 19 for the Trojans.