Lady Warriors are AHSAA South Regional champs
By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor
FOLEY – Not only did the Thompson girls’ bowling team qualify for the state tournament, but they brought home a 2017 South Regional Championship after winning the tournament in Foley, Jan. 19-20. While the guys’ team came up just short, the girls were determined and made a tremendous run to become champions.
Thompson and Spain Park have been two of the best girls’ bowling teams in the state all year, so it was no surprise when they were sitting in the first and second position after day one of the tournament. In the regular season, the Jags and Warriors split a pair of matchups with each other. For most of the season, Spain Park’s only loss had come at the hands of the Warriors.
Day one featured a couple of strong individual performances from the Warriors as three finished in the top eight of the standings. Jessica Lynn Sherman was the strongest finishing with 494 points, which was good enough for third place. Sherman finished just ahead of teammate Gllian Baker, who bowled a total of 487 points. Alexianna Griffin finished in eighth with 466 points as all three helped lead Thompson to a total of 2,303 points, which was good enough for the No. 1 seed heading into the final day of the tournament.
The Jags finished just behind with a total of 2,256 points to take the No. 2 seed.
In the first two rounds of the final day, Thompson took care of business easily with a 711-506 win over Houston Academy and a 703-564 win over Foley.
This advanced them to the semifinals where they squared off against one of the other top teams in the state, Vestavia Hills. The two teams went back-and-forth in the first three sets as Vestavia narrowly won the first, 147-140. The Warriors responded with a 170-136 performance in the second to tie things up at 1-1.
The Rebels came right back in the third to win 171-148, which really put the pressure on each team as Thompson led 458-454, with three games left to play.
The Warriors easily took the fourth set 161-118, which set up a fifth and deciding game to see who would advance to the final. It was a close one that came down to the wire, but Thompson squeaked out a 146-137 advantage and took down the Rebels 765-709 to advance to the finals.
In the finals, Thompson matched up against another elite team in the Pelham Panthers who took down Spain Park 746-711 in a tight semifinal matchup.
The Warriors won every game against the Panthers, most with relative ease, to take home the regional championship 741-615.
Thompson will now advance to the state tournament where they look to repeat as state champions, which will be difficult as they compete against 16 of the best girls teams from across the state, including Spain Park, Vestavia and Pelham yet again. The tournament is a two-day event and kicks off Thursday, Jan. 26 at Oak Mountain Lanes in Pelham.