Spain Park wins boys bowling South Regional, Oak Mountain, Thompson advance to state

Published 1:00 am Saturday, January 20, 2024

By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

VESTAVIA HILLS – The Spain Park Jaguars are rolling into the boys Class 6A-7A state bowling championship in style with the South Regional championship.

They defeated the Stanhope Elmore Mustangs in the tiebreaking game of a best-of-seven thriller at Vestavia Bowl on Friday, Jan. 19 to claim the title.

The Jags will join the Oak Mountain Eagles girls bowling team and the Thompson Warriors’ boys and girls bowling teams in the 6A-7A championship at Bowlero Mobile on Feb. 1-2.

Spain Park’s team of Luke Eaton, Evan Kelty, Ray Olatubi, Caleb Mason, Michael Kimble, Connor Shamblin, Zion Mims and Griffin Mikos booked its spot at state in dominant fashion in the first round of the team bracket against the Spanish Fort Toros.

The Jags swept the best-of-seven series 4-0 with a 179-143 win in game one, a 162-153 win in game two, a 209-148 win in game three and a 203-144 victory in game four to clinch the series and a spot at state.

While Spain Park was punching its ticket to Mobile, Thompson earned its place in the boys state championship with a first-round sweep of its own over the Baker Hornets behind the efforts of Max Woodall, Zachary LaRussa, Ryan Lloyd, Xander Adelberg, Kellen McNutt, Joshua Prioleau, Andrew Giles and AJ Todd.

The Warriors won the first game 160-137 before rolling to a 212-165 win in game two. From there, Thompson took game three 176-140 and game four 192-138 to take the 4-0 series win and cement their spot in the necessary top four for a state tournament spot.

That pitted the Jags and Warriors against each other in the regional semifinals with a spot in the championship on the line.

Spain Park got off to a strong start with its best score of the day in a 243-205 win in game one. Then, the Jags just edged out a 203-202 win in game two for a 2-0 lead.

That led to a more comfortable 209-191 win in game three to take a commanding 3-0 lead in the series.

Thompson took game four 203-185 to avoid the sweep, but Spain Park bounced back in game five to earn the 191-145 win to win the series 3-1 and advance to the regional finals.

That set up a back-and-forth battle with Stanhope Elmore for the championship and a number-one seed in the state championship.

The Mustangs took game one 180-172, but the Jags responded with a 179-145 win to tie the series at 1-1.

Spain Park then cruised to a 190-123 victory in game three, however this time, it was Stanhope Elmore that knotted up the match with a 172-159 win in game four.

Then, the Mustangs put the Jags’ back against the wall with a 204-179 game five victory.

Needing to win out in the last two games to take the region, that’s exactly what Spain Park did thanks to a pair of scores over 200.

The Jags took game six 206-156 and game seven 210-158 as they won the championship and top seed.

In the girls regional tournament, Oak Mountain and Thompson will also make the trip to Mobile to battle for the state title.

Thompson punched its ticket by sweeping Dothan 4-0 in the first round. The Warriors took game one 198-108 and rolled to a 150-97 win in game two.

Afterward, Thompson won a closer game three 128-113 before dominating 193-87 in game four to seal its spot at state.

Oak Mountain’s team of Emma Hawkins, Jenna Burson, Anna DuBose, Molly O’Dell, Lauren Schuessler, Grace Smith and Mabrey Whitehead joined the Warriors in advancing with a 4-0 win in round one against the Auburn Tigers.

The Eagles won a close game one 131-122, and they claimed game two by a wide margin to take the 2-0 series lead.

Oak Mountain endured a pressure-packed game three to earn the 148-145 victory, and that led to a 131-116 win in game four to advance to state.

Afterwards, the Eagles met Thompson in the semifinals with crucial seeding on the line.

Oak Mountain started the match strong with a 191-161 win in game one and 142-136 game two victory to grab an early 2-0 series lead.

However, it was all Warriors from there as they won game three 197-163, tied up the series with a 147-136 game four win, took the series lead by winning game five 142-101 and wrapping up the match with a 147-122 win in game six.

While Thompson lost 4-0 in the regional championship to Stanhope Elmore, it will move on to Mobile as the second seed out of the South Regional thanks to the efforts of Olivia Harmon, Amil Smith, Sophie Leonard, Emma Roberson, Ella Walker, Kathryn Barchard, Isabella Black and Ashley Lozano.