The Central High girls bowling team posted some of their best numbers of the year on the way to their first Allstate/Sugar Bowl LHSAA state team championship Friday at All-Star Lanes.
In the process, the Wildcats became the first Baton Rouge area school to win a state bowling title since the Denham Springs girls captured four straight (2005-08).
Even a little thing like a late lineup scratch wasn’t going to be a distraction.
Sariah Short was unable to go after trying to practice because of an injured tendon in her bowling hand. Central coach Phil Godley made the lineup change before the start of the semis, and Central never really missed a beat.
In the semis, Central had to battle a bit with Ellender, winning the first game in the best-of-27 point system 5-3 as Sarah LeDuff posted a 216 score. Six more points in the second game put Central up 11-5 and the Wildcats would eventually get to the final after a 16-11 victory.
But the expected rematch of last year’s final with St. Scholastica didn’t materialize as West five seed, Morgan City, won seven of the first eight points en route to an 18.5-8.5 win.
When Alanna Coward opened 243-224, Jessie Smith 224-190 and Brittnee Robinson posted 199-223, all for winning points, the Wildcats were title- bound. Throw in Brianna McCurley’s 233 in the second game and LeDuff’s 206 and Central nearly had the clinching points after two games, up 13-3. Central won 21-6.
“They bowled so well,” said Central Coach Phil Godley. “Getting the bad news that one of our starters had a pulled tendon and probably wouldn’t bowl, the girls rallied. All season long, we only lost one game. I was wondering how they would respond to teams throwing something on them, and I was wondering about missing the starter. But it was beautiful. They did great.”
Central made it a clean sweep as Smith rolled a 206 in the final game in the singles to win the gold medal with 620, five pins better than Robinson, who won the silver medal. Defending champion Kayla Engeron of St. Charles (600) took the bronze. Central bowlers finished in six of the top eight spots.
The hoped-for matchup in the boys finals between defending champion Brother Martin and Catholic High never materialized as the No. 1 seed in the West, Vandebilt Catholic, proved too much in the semifinals for the Bears. The second game was pivotal as Catholic posted a six-game total of 1,282 led by Christian Gendron’s 235, but Vandebilt Catholic countered with a 1,310 with Bali Hebert rolling 267.
Down 10-6 and 49 pins going to the final game, the teams split the eight points, giving the Terriers the clincher in a tense 17-10 win.
Brother Martin defeat Lafayette for the second straight year in the semifinals 21-6, and the Crusaders beat the Terriers 17-10 in the title match to give Brother Martin a second straight title and fifth boys title in the past eight years for New Orleans.
Max Oertling of Brother Martin won the gold medal in the singles with a 676 series, and Catholic’s Philip O’Neill came back in the competition to win the silver medal with a 669 (202-258-209).