Thompson girls and boys, Spain Park girls perform well at state bowling tourney

Published 1:52 pm Monday, January 31, 2022

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By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

GADSDEN – Their trip to Gadsden didn’t end with a state championship, but for the Thompson boys and girls bowling teams as well as Spain Park’s girls, there were still plenty of reasons to celebrate.

Competing at the AHSAA State Bowling Tournament Jan. 27-28, the three teams all had highlights between the two days, especially during Thursday’s opening day.

Bowling traditional games to determine seeding and individual state champions, all three posted someone in the top four of the individual standings.

One of the highlights came from Thompson’s Bodie Bubel, who bowled the tournament’s only perfect 300 in his first traditional game.

He went on to bowl games of 238 and 190 after that to total 628 between his three games, which placed him third in the individual standings.

Bubel finished behind Hoover’s Alex Lee, while Spain Park’s Cole Henson won the individual title for the boys, eventually leading the Spain Park boys team to a state championship a day later.

Spain Park’s girls also finished with a third-place bowler in the individual standings, as Emma Hawkins bowled a school record 244 in her second of three games.

She surrounded that with games of 168 and 149 to finish with a total score of 561, which was 24 points behind Emily Lindsey and 27 points behind Jenna Webber, both from Sparkman High School.

Thompson’s girls also had an impressive performance in the girls individual standings with Gracie Connelly putting together an impressive opening game.

Connelly actually bowled the highest game of any girls bowler at the tournament in her first game with a score of 262.

She then followed that with scores of 129 and 155 to finish with a total score of 546. That was good enough for fourth in the individual standings.

Those efforts on the opening day of the tournament were part of the seeding portion of the tournament, as each bowler’s individual score counted toward an aggregate team score.

Spain Park ended up as the No. 2 seed in the girls tournament, while Thompson was the fifth seed.

The Jags 2,296 points as a team, while Thompson finished with 2,160 points as a team.

For the boys, Thompson scored a total of 2,639, which earned the Warriors the No. 4 seed entering elimination day on Friday.

With Spain Park’s boys also participating, three of the four teams in attendance eventually advanced to the semifinals.

Thompson’s girls fell in the opening round, however, in a 4-1 battle with Southside Gadsden High School.

Thompson lost the opening baker game in a best-of-seven format by a score of 151-123. It looked as if the Warriors were going to bounce back in the next two games, but they ultimately lost 132-125 and 160-149 in two heartbreaking losses.

They did battle back for a strong 209-120 win with the season on the line in the fourth game, but then lost another heartbreaker in the fifth game by a score of 138-133 to lose 4-1.

Three of their four losses came by 11 points or less, as Southside advance to the semifinals.

Spain Park’s girls and Thompson’s boys, however, were able to advance to the Final Four.

The Jags picked up a 4-2 victory over Baker in the opening round, taking a 3-0 lead with three wins by seven points or less.

Spain Park won the first three games by scores of 128-121, 124-117 and 149-147.

Following those thrilling games the Jags ultimately lost the next two games 156-145 and 168-133, as the Hornets flipped the momentum in their favor.

But Spain Park still held a 3-2 lead and was one game from claiming the victory. The Jags closed it out in the sixth game with an easier effort thanks to a score of 158-125.

Thompson’s boys also took their opener with a 4-2 win thanks to clutch play late.

The Warriors fell behind after the opening game against Vestavia Hills, as the Rebels picked up a 193-164 win.

That, however, was followed by wins of 171-141 and 190-178 from the Warriors.

Trailing 2-1, Vestavia answered with a 194-182 fourth game to even the score at 2-2 and avoid a 3-1 deficit.

From there, however, Thompson picked up a dominant 214-170 victory in the fifth game to change the tone of the matchup, eventually ending the match one game later with a 166-157 victory.

That led both to the semifinals, where difficult matchups awaited.

Thompson wound up in one of the most thrilling battles of the tournament against No. 1 Hoover, as both fought for a spot in the state championship match.

The electrifying back-and-forth battle started in the opening game, which actually ended in a 232-232 tie. Hoover, however, went on to win a tightly-contested 50-49 tiebreaker to take a 1-0 lead.

Thompson used that to fuel a strong second game, as the Warriors put together one of the best games of the tournament with a 259-193 victory to even the match 1-1.

That was followed by a 199-168 victory and a 2-1 lead followed by a 192-143 victory and a 3-1 win.

From there, however, Hoover faced the pressure of its season coming to an end and responded. The Bucs won the next three games by 12 points or less in each one to grab the 4-3 comeback victory and advance to meet Spain Park in the championship match.

Spain Park’s girls found themselves in a different situation, as the Jags fell into a 3-0 hole early.

They bounced back with a 160-130 win in the fourth game, but Stanhope-Elmore then closed out the match with a 135-100 win to end the Jaguars’ season.

State champions ended up being the Spain Park boys and Sparkman girls following a thrilling two days.