Brother Martin coach Bruce Himbert wants one chance to win back-to-back state titles in prep bowling.
He’s two matches away from that opportunity after his top-seeded Crusaders took down both Jesuit and Archbishop Shaw in the boys/coed division of the Baton Rouge/New Orleans/Hammond biregional Tuesday at All-Star Lanes in Baton Rouge.
The team that is tops on paper earned a spot at the April 8 championship day with a 23-4 decision over Jesuit and a closer-than-it-looked 20-7 win over Shaw.
“That team over there just doesn’t give up,” Himbert said of Shaw. “We knew it wasn’t going to be easy.”
It looked pretty easy at the beginning of the afternoon as Brother Martin went 1,460-1,300 in the scratch six-player scores. Robert Beecher had 221-206; Brandon Aucoin had 246-213; Max Oertling had 246-210; Jonathan Fernandez had 229-211; Cody Schaffer had 256-216 and Kyle Schneider had 263-244.
“They did everything right. We had one spare, one split. We made a lot of single pins, lots of 10s and lots of sevens. That’s usually our Achilles’ heel,” Himbert said.
In the advancing match, the better pair appeared to be the left pair that the 1-2-3 average bowlers were on, and Brother Martin was able to get seven of the nine possible individual points there.
Beecher (202), Oertling (208) and Schneider (223), held off a 256 by Dylan Chesterman and 214 by Matthew Collins of Shaw, and the Crusaders got the three team points 1,147-1,144 to go up 5-3.
The total pins swung heavily in Brother Martin’s way when Beecher, Aucoin and Oertling in the 1-2-3 spot posted 637 to 478; the Crusaders had an 11-5 lead with the three total pins points in hand that would advance them.
Catholic of Baton Rouge was the other team advancing in the boys/coed division with a 21-6 win over Central. Catholic High had just a 1,290-1,285 lead after one game, but a big 6-2 win and a large victory margin sent Catholic High back to the semis.
Brother Martin will bowl Lafayette High in the semis, while the top seed from the rest-of-the-state biregional, Vandebilt Catholic, will face Catholic High.
In the girls matches, the two teams that met in the championship match in 2015 are still alive after St. Scholastica and Central both won easily. St. Scholastica, the defending champion, was a 25-2 winner over St. Michael. Central, the runner-up a year ago, opened nearly 150 pins after the first game and won 21.5-5.5.
After the top two seeds fell in Lafayette on Monday, the semifinal matchups have St. Scholastica meeting Morgan City and Central facing Ellender.
All the bowlers on the advancing teams also go to the state semifinals in singles as well as the top five girls and six boys from non-advancing teams in the final round. Defending singles champion Kayla Engeron of St. Charles Catholic looks like she wants to keep her title: She rolled games of 205 and 258 in her singles round to average a squad-best 231.50 among those advancing. Arianna Williams of Cabrini got the final spot with a 190.50 average.
Jack Douglas of St. Amant was the leading boys qualifier with a 230.50 average, followed by Peyton Hidalgo of Jesuit at 213. Also advancing was Matt Collins of Shaw at 208.