LAFAYETTE —Brother Martin and coach Bruce Himbert finally made it to another Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA State Bowling Championship match at Acadiana Lanes, and this time he walked out with the biggest trophy of all, the Open Division team championship.
The Crusaders rallied from an early first-game deficit to win 20-7 over Central taking their first title in their third trip to the final. Central got big opening games from Parker Aucoin (222) and Jacob Garretson (239) at the top two average positions and ended up with a 5-3 lead after taking the first game, 1,169-1,145.
But there was a quiet confidence that things could turn and when things turned, they turned fast for the Crusaders who opened the second game with 21 strikes in their first 30 frames. That sent the large Brother Martin crowd into a frenzy and seemed to shake Central’s early momentum.
“These guys really gave it their all,” Himbert said. “We missed a few spares. Central caught a couple of breaks. We were down 5-3 and 24 pins. It was nice to walk up to them and say guys, we really didn’t bowl that well and we are only down two points. Come out really heavy this game, and we’ve got a good chance.”
Part of the run was Kyle Schneider with the first six strikes en route to a 236 and Max Oertiling opening spare, four strikes in a 210 game. Robert Beecher had 236 and Peyton Romano 211 as Brother Martin posted a 1,231 and 5-3 down was suddenly 11-5 up.
Neither team had a real cakewalk in the semifinals as Central, based on averages an on-paper underdog, took two games to win 16-11 over H. L. Bourgeois, while the Crusaders needed an impressive six-player score of 1,300 in the final game of their match to take down Lafayette 18-9.
In the final game, Brother Martin showed its top to bottom strength as the 1-4 bowlers in their lineup (posted always low average to high average) had games of 242 (Jonathan Fernandez), 215 (Chad Naccari), 242 (Peyton Romano) and 258 (Kyle Schneider).
“On paper, Lafayette looked like a pushover, and they were far from that,” said Himbert in the average disparity in the two teams. “One thing (the bowlers) do is look at numbers. We do this on the lane, not on paper and (the Crusaders) realized that in the second game.”
In the girls semifinals, Central beat Ellender, 19-8, and St. Scholastica downed Central Lafourche, 231/2-31/2.
St. Scholastica and Central in the girls final split the first two games with SSA up 9-7, but the Central girls had a small total pins lead. SSA got a 208 from Sara Breaux and a 177 from Lauren Schneida to help the Doves win 10 of the final 11 points.
“We maintained our energy level through three games, averaging about 960 or so, which is solid,” said SSA coach Pete Bertucci. “You can do pretty well with that. My top end bowlers didn’t do too well, but neither did (Central’s). But everyone knows if you win the 1-2-3s … you usually do pretty well.”
SSA won eight of the nine available points in the three lower average positions and won just two points in the 4-6 average positions, but the margins up top were big enough to make the difference.
In singles, Beecher and Oertiling got first and third in that competition, with Beecher averaging 228 to win the gold medal while Oertiling averaged 213 for the bronze. Central’s Aucoin averaged a strong 219 to take the silver.
On the girls side, the championship went to Kayla Engeron of St. Charles Catholic who was actually coached by Himbert since her school did not field a team. She averaged 191 for the gold medal.
Kailie Savoie of Teurlings Catholic took the silver with a 189 average and Lizzie Voisin of Ellender averaged 183 for the bronze.