Oak Mountain, Thompson finish girls bowling season at state tournament

Published 1:39 pm Tuesday, January 31, 2023

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By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

GADSDEN – Following another spectacular run for both teams this season, the Oak Mountain Eagles and Thompson Warriors saw their 2022-2023 bowling season come to an end on Friday, Jan. 28 as two of the final eight teams left in the 6A-7A classification.

Competing in the AHSAA State Bowling Championship Tournament, the Eagles advanced to the semifinals of the tournament before losing to Sparkman in a tightly-contested matchup, while Thompson also fell to Sparkman a round earlier in the quarterfinals.

Despite finishing short of their ultimate goal of a state championship, both had their share of highlights at the tournament that started on Thursday with the seeding and individual championship round.

During the three traditional games bowled by individuals that day, Oak Mountain two different bowlers finish inside the top 10 and one more finish just outside in 11th.

Emma Hawkins was the highlight, capping off a special junior season with a total score of 494 to finish fourth in the individual standings. She improved in each of her three games, bowling games of 159, 160 and 175.

A few spots down in eight, Grace Smith had a strong showing as well, bowling a high of 198 in her second game, which was sandwiched between games of 128 and 145 for a total of 471.

Joelle “JoJo” Smith had similar success, bowling a 176 in her second game, while totaling 142 and 143 in the first and final games, respectively. That led to ta total of 461 and a finish of 11th.

As for the Warriors, Ella Walker was the highlight on day one, finishing with a score of 448 after totaling 139, 130 and 179 in her three games.

Emma Roberson and Sophie Leonard also finished inside the top 20 with scores of 437 and 425, respectively.

Following those individual performances, the Eagles finished the day with 2,245 total points, which earned them the three seed going into championship day, while Thompson grabbed the seventh seed with 2,069 points.

That set up Oak Mountain to take on Baker High School, which led to a tight opening battle in the quarterfinals.

In a thrilling fight to the finish, the Eagles picked up a 4-3 win to advance to the semis.

Oak Mountain won the first game 180-119 to start in commanding fashion, but Baker responded with a slim 118-110 win. Tied 1-1, the Eagles responded with a slim win of their own by a score of 145-133 in the third baker game to take a 2-1 advantage.

The Senators, however, came back with wins of 151-126 and 123-120 to take a 3-2 lead.

Needing two wins in a row to stave off elimination and advance, Oak Mountain found a clutch gene and reeled off wins of 130-115 and 151-111 to claim the 4-3 win in the best-of-seven format.

Thompson wasn’t as fortunate in the opening match of the day against the two seed Sparkman. The Warriors fell into a 3-0 hole early after losing 201-130, 152-107 and 152-146.

With the season on the line, they were able to bounce back with a clutch win in the fourth game, outscoring Sparkman 136-119 to make it 3-1. The Senators, however, picked up their second-best game of the match in the fifth game with a 194-128 victory to end Thompson’s season in the quarterfinals.

That set up a matchup between Sparkman and Oak Mountain in the semifinals for a spot in the 6A-7A championship.

The Senators again started strong with a 176-125 win in the opening game, but Oak Mountain had success early as well.

The Eagles bounced back with a 174-166 win in the second game to even the score, and despite a 169-148 loss in the third game, they continued putting up points.

That continued in the fourth game as Oak Mountain picked up a thrilling 160-158 win to even the score at 2-2.

From there, however, the Eagles had a tough time matching the production.

They scored 107 in the fifth game and 125 in the sixth game, while Sparkman finished the match off with 179 and 167 to claim a 4-2 victory. The Senators scored 158 or more in all six rounds to end Oak Mountain’s season in the semifinals.