LAFAYETTE — The Louisiana High School Athletic Association bowling playoffs had story lines aplenty for the large crowd gathered Friday at Acadiana Lanes.
St. Michael the Archangel senior Angela Falgoust came in focused and captured a state title for her school that escaped her in both team and singles a year ago.
Class B Holden was determined to show it belonged in the girls state championship round and the smallest school in the competition was one of the most formidable foes in the first decade of high school bowling’s final day.
Then there was the defending champion in Open Team competition, Archbishop Rummel, and defending boys singles champion, Corey Ledet of Jesuit-New Orleans. Both repeated against strong competition.
When it was over, Falgoust had her state girls singles title, Rummel won its second straight Open title and ran its winning streak to 31 matches with a closer-than-indicated 18-9 win over Morgan City. Meanwhile, Ledet made a final game ball change that led to a 279 game and a narrow repeat by one pin in a three-game average in the boys singles.
Holden’s magical ride as the “Hoosiers” of the playoffs continued. The Rockets defeated three-time champion Lafayette, a Class 5A school, in the semifinals (16-11, rallying from 9-7 down in the final game).
And Holden held an 11-5 lead over 4A Vandebilt Catholic going to the final game in the girls title match. But the Houma-based Terriers won five-of-six matches and the third game to tie the match at 12-12. That put it all depending on the three-bonus pins for the 18-games each team rolled and Vandebilt had a 16-pin advantage, 2,535-2,519, to win the match and the title, 15-12.
VCHS advanced to final with a 15-12 semifinal win over St. Scholastica after trailing 9-7 entering the last game.
“We’ve been called ‘Jill The Giant Slayer’ all this season,” an emotional, but happy Holden coach Lisa Neal said. “We really battled. We were hot (after defeating Lafayette), and I left those six in the last match. It was exciting. They were hot. They were hitting. We were just on. We feel honored to have even been here. People were thinking it’s just little Holden. I couldn’t be prouder. I’m sorry we didn’t finish strong. (Vandebilt Catholic) made a great comeback and I have to give them props.”
Falgoust, whose St. Michael team was eliminated in the Baton Rouge-New Orleans biregional, made the singles her showcase, averaging 230-plus in two games to get to state and then opened the state finals with a 249 game. She easily claimed the title with a three-game average of 218. Last year’s singles state champion, Colleen Cheramie of Vanderbilt, was second with a 192 average, just one pin ahead of Albany’s Harley DeKeyser (191).
Falgoust needed one word to describe how focused she was on singles after her team lost: “Very.”
“At first, I always go to my old reliable (Storm bowling ball) Victory Road. I found my shot in practice, but as (the lanes) started to break down I was trying to figure out how to keep up with the lane transition and so I just took that into the second set,” Falgoust said. “That is what kept me up with the lane transitions, and I only had to make one ball change with only two opens and no splits. I told myself that I wanted to stay clean and stay ahead of the transitions and it worked.”
Rummel in the Open Division took care of three-time champion Barbe 22-5 in the semifinals, while Broadmoor, another Cinderella story, lost to Morgan City, 19-8, in the semifinals. Juan Coston, who advanced to the state singles final round, posted a 597 to lead the Bucs.
In its championship win, Rummel took a 6-2 lead, winning the first game by seven pins, 1,209-1,202 as six of the 12 bowlers broke 200 led by the 280 of Morgan City’s Taylor Brocato. After the Tigers’ Lang Bui, who finished third in singles, posted a 279 second game, the Raiders lead was just 9-7. But the undefeated streak (16 matches in 2012, 15 in 2013) was still alive as the Raiders won four matches, the third game and total pins to wrap things up.
High games for Rummel in the final were Josh Berthelot (235) and Tyler LeBlanc (232), while Charles Noble posted a 663 (221-219-223) to take second in singles.
“We sent this Morgan City team home in the semifinals last year,” said Rummel Coach Matt Caire. “They really brought it against us this year. It was a much tougher road this time around (to win the title). We came out a little slow against Barbe in the first match. We had to get used to the lanes. But the guys really picked it up and really brought it in the final match against Morgan City.”
Jesuit’s Ledet was grinding out OK scores in his first two games of singles, but with what was being shot in the Open team final, something had to give for him to repeat and the ball change was what gave.
“I struggled the first two games, but I picked up the right ball for the last game,” Ledet said. “It worked out to give me the game and the series I needed. You’ve got to keep reading the lanes every shot because they change quickly. It changed a lot, and I thought I did a decent job of that.”