A single strike on the bowling lanes has the potential to swing a score by 30 points, which is about all that separated Waxahachie and Midlothian Heritage in the final standings Sunday afternoon in Rowlett.
Thirty-four pins to be exact was the difference between the Indians, and not the district-champion Jaguars, advancing to the 2019 Texas High School Bowling Club state championships later this month.
One Lady Indian, Kyleigh Howard, dominated the girls’ singles competition to claim a regional title and advance to the state tournament. Midlothian Heritage bowlers Jordan Nottingham and Cody Moore also advanced to the state singles tournament on the boys’ side.
Waxahachie finished fourth as a team Sunday afternoon with 1,556-total pin-fall in the THSBC Region II team tournament held at Rowlett Bowl-a-Rama. Wylie won the regional title with 1,762-total pin-fall, while Allen (1,657) and Plano Senior (1,642) followed in second and third, respectively.
Midlothian Heritage — which won the district championship last month after posting a 10-2 record with 144 points won, 36 points lost and a 161.5 Baker scoring average — placed fifth in the regional tournament with 1,522-total pin-fall. McKinney Boyd (1,439), Frisco Centennial (1,323) and Frisco Wakeland (1,067) rounded out the regional standings.
The THSBC, which operates outside of the UIL, is comprised of eight regions and 158 teams across the state. Only 36 teams — the top four in each region — advanced to the state championships after 75 moved on to the district and regional competitions. Forty-four boys and girls advanced to state championships as individual competitors.
In the team tournament, each five-some rolled seven seeding matches in the Baker scoring format, which has a bowler roll in the first and sixth frames, a second bowler roll in the second and seventh frames, and so on. The winning team for each match was awarded 30 additional pins and the teams concluded the event with a position round.
Both Waxahachie and Heritage opened the tournament with losses to Frisco Centennial (178-147) and Allen (214-162), respectively.
Waxahachie then bounced back with four consecutive wins against Frisco Wakeland (190-151), McKinney Boyd (294-155), Heritage (226-153) and Allen (204-170).
When it was all said and done, the Indians faced Allen in the third-place match and fell, 232-150, while Heritage defeated McKinney Boyd in the fifth-place match (252-134).
Heritage also recorded wins during match play against Frisco Centennial (225-183) and Frisco Wakeland (216-123)
The Waxahachie team, coached by Hilltop Lanes owner Scott Dodson, consisted of Andrew Palla (senior, 172 average), Kayleigh Howard (junior, 194), James Reeves (senior, 125), Anthony de la Cruz (junior, 167), Tanner Mitchell (senior, 118), Catrina Wong (junior, 116), Ryan Vencil (junior, 151) and Nick Rodgers (junior, 98).
Chester Joe coached the Midlothian Heritage team that consisted of Cody Moore (senior, 177 average), Saeban McGinnis (senior, 165), Jordan Nottingham (senior, 181), Colin Coppock (senior, 155), Judd Brown (junior, 146), Jason Cathey (freshman, 149) and Kayleigh Smith (junior, 133).
HOWARD KNOCKS ‘EM DOWN
The only round Kyleigh Howard did not lead the individual girls’ leaderboard was after was the opening game — when she trailed Lydia Gilbert, of Lebanon High School, 215-213.
She then built a 16-pin lead by the end of the third game and led by 48 pins with an 861 after four games. She ultimately finished the five-game individual tournament with a jaw-dropping 1,140-total pin-fall to easily win the regional championship by 121 pins over Gilbert.
Third place went to Plano bowler Katie Heady, who finished with a 989.
Howard averaged a 226 over her five matches.
On the boys’ singles side, Cody Moore, of Midlothian Heritage, was in the lead for most of the afternoon but a 167 in the fourth game moved him back to fourth-place overall with 1,055-total pin-fall.
Fortunately, it did not cost him a trip to the state tournament, as he will join teammate Jordan Nottingham (1,081-total pin-fall) in Grand Prairie with a shot at the title.
James Crenshaw (910, Global High) and Andrew Palla (810, Waxahachie) also represented Ellis County in the boys’ singles division.
Noah Cooper, of Lovejoy, won the boys’ singles division with 1,130-total pin-fall, while Nottingham placed second and Matthew Reed, of Lebanon, was third (1,070).
The state championships will be held Saturday and Sunday, March 30-31 at Forum Bowling Center in Grand Prairie. The team finals are Saturday, while the singles’ championships are slated for Sunday.