Catholic High, behind the strong work of anchor Austin Bertrand, bowled its way back into the state boys/coed semifinals Tuesday at All-Star Lanes in the Baton Rouge/New Orleans/Hammond biregional.
And the Central girls, state runners-up a year ago, took advantage of their top seed to advance to the girls semis.
Catholic advanced through in the six-bowler, best-of-27 point competition as the No. 2 seed in the biregion with a 19-9 win over St. Amant and a 21-6 victory over Central.
In the opening win, Bertrand rolled games of 268, 230 and 279 for a 777 series, with Easton Hollis and Christian Gendron both rolling 200 games.
The Central boys/coed team, seeded sixth, had to win two matches to get to the advancing match — and it did, easily downing Madison Prep and Albany.
The teams went at it hard in the opening game, with Catholic getting wins in the 2-3-4 slots from Brian Dinh (220), Daniel Heltz (248) and Phillip O’Neill (199), but Central countered with wins at 1-5-6 with Michael Williston (232), Dylan Ringo (246) and Parker Aucoin (227-224 over Bertrand). It resulted in a 5-3 lead for Catholic and five-plus pins to the Bears for total.
But Catholic continued strong bowling from top to bottom in its lineup, while Central appeared to feel the effects of the all-day grind. With Bertrand hitting 246 and Catholic a six-player 1,200, the lead swelled to 11-5.
“We have not been (to the semifinals) in so long,” said Catholic coach Robin Deck, whose team last won the title in 2007. “I am so excited with how they bowl. I am so proud of them. It was one of our best series. Our team has always been a team of fighters.”
Bertrand led Catholic with a 682 set putting him at a 243 average for the day. Hollis had games of 229 and 203 and Heltz 628 for his series.
Defending champion Brother Martin started defense of its state title with a 23-4 decision over Jesuit in which the Crusaders opened with six-game totals of 1,465 and 1,300. Brother Martin advanced to the semis with a 20-7 win over Shaw in a match that was much closer than the score.
On the girls side, Central had the enviable position of needing to win just one time to get to the state semis, but it was well earned.
Central easily beat Albany, 21.5-5.5, opening up almost 150 pins in the first game, rolling 1,151 as Sarah Short had 210, Jessie Smith a 216 and Brianna McCurley a 220. St. Scholastica, which beat Central for the title last year, also advanced with a 25-2 win over St. Michael.
Central’s Phil Godley felt all the emotions as coach of both the boys and girls teams for the school.
“The girls bowled a fantastic match,” he said. “The 1,151 first game gets people’s attention. Bowling the one match was a big advantage for our girls. As you can see with the boys, they just ran out of gas. They were bowling maybe better than they have all season long. But it was just a long day. So having the girls fresh was probably a big advantage.”
In the boys/coed semis April 8, Catholic will face Vandebilt Catholic, the top seed from the rest-of-state biregion, while Brother Martin will have another semifinal meeting with third-seeded Lafayette High. In the girls semis, St. Scholastica will face Morgan City, the No. 5 seed in the other biregion, with Albany meeting No. 3 Ellender.
Also advancing to the singles competition are the bowlers on the semifinal teams and five girls and six boys from the non-advancing teams. Defending champion Kayla Engeron of St. Charles Catholic advanced with a 231.5 average, with Averi Laughlin of Dutchtown second at 225.50 and Keondra Eaton of Baton Rouge High third with a 200 average. Bailee Chapman was fourth at 194.50.
In boys singles, Jack Douglas of St. Amant was the best with a 230.50 average. East Ascension’s Dillan Moran was third at 212.50, Central’s Johnathan Ryder fourth at 212.33 and Dutchtown’s Trey Kauffman fifth at 208.