Defending champ Thompson has season end in heartbreaking fashion

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

PELHAM – Needing a moment to gather himself, Hewitt-Trussville’s Kyle Wright walked away from his team back toward the bleachers where fans looked on in the first round of the AHSAA State Bowling Championships on Friday, Jan. 29, inside Pelham’s Oak Mountain Lanes.

Needing a strike in the 10th frame of the final baker game, Wright shook off some jitters, walked back up to the hardwood surface, grabbed his ball and rolled it perfectly down the lane for a strike.

With that moment came heartbreak for the Thompson Warriors.

Hoping to repeat as state champions, the Warriors returned much of their roster from the previous year and held a 96-pin lead going into the final baker game looking for a spot in the semifinals.

Thompson, however, couldn’t overcome some nerves in the final frame, while the Huskies made a torrid chase down of the Warriors in the final few frames with five consecutive strikes, including the big one from Wright.

That helped Hewitt win the final baker game 247-139, which put the Huskies just in front 1,672-1,660 to advance to the semifinals.

As soon as Wright hit the final strike, the Huskies erupted in excitement, but one of the first gestures Wright made was to walk over and congratulate Landon Masters with a hug.

The two are leaders for their respective teams and were part of a competitive battle throughout the match, but even in that tense moment, they embraced one another and marveled in what had just happened.

For a while, it looked like the Warriors were going to coast to victory in the quarterfinal matchup.

They jumped out to an 83-pin (1,064-981) lead following the traditional game. Four bowlers for the Warriors surpassed a score of 200, including Bodie Bubel with a score of 236, while all of their bowlers bowled at least a 190.

It was an ideal start, but the Huskies started their comeback attempt in the opening baker game. They didn’t dominate the game, but they were able to outscore the Warriors by 18 pins, which cut the deficit to 1,266-1,201 heading to the second baker.

Thompson, however, bounced back with what looked like it was going to be the difference in the match. The Warriors put together the highest-scoring baker game of the matchup with a score of 255 in the second baker, while the Huskies managed a score of 224.

That helped Thompson extend the advantage to 96 pins at 1,521-1,425 going to the final baker game.

But needing a miraculous comeback effort that would see their best game and Thompson’s worst, the Huskies somehow found a way.

They not only did what they needed to do with their best baker score of the match at 247, but Thompson seemed to lose its touch, just missing on what became several close opportunities.

That led to the heartbreaking loss for the Warriors, As Hewitt-Trussville stormed back with a 247-139 effort in the final baker game to complete the 1,672-1,660 win.

Masters, Jacob Acker and Bodie Bubel all finished inside the top 10 of the final individual standings for Thompson, as they had another special year leading the Warriors.

For Acker and Masters, their careers come to an end after leading Thompson to the semifinals three years in a row, a state championship last year and a trip to the quarterfinals this season.