By Gene Phelps
BRANDON – The Eagles – Tupelo Christian Prep and Tremont – soared Thursday in the MHSAA Class I State Bowling Tournament.
The TCPS boys rolled to a 3-0 best-of-five Baker playoff victory over Florence at Fannon Lanes to claim their second straight state championship.
Tremont’s girls had a tougher task, but beat Kossuth 3-1 in an All-Northeast Mississippi girls Baker playoff championship match.
“Not a lot of these guys bowled before this year,” TCPS bowler Lucas Hartigan said. “They came to Rebelanes and put in the work. Today, they got the results.”
The Eagles’ six starters, including Hartigan, are all members of the TCPS baseball team.
TCPS won the Baker matches 199-161, 194-170 and 153-134. Hartigan rolled three consecutive strikes to close out the second game and give the Eagles a huge shot of confidence.
“I knew if I could strike out, they would have a hard time beating us,” Hartigan said. “My teammates did a good job filling in the frames.”
In the championship qualifier held earlier, Hartigan rolled a team-high 856 series in four games. He also posted a 257 high game.
Brandon Wood added a 736 series in the qualifier while Logan Johnson posted a 226 score and Austin Laney a 224 for TCPS. The Eagles won the qualifying with a 3,618 pins. Florence was second with 3,434.
“We really started to click in those last two games of qualifying,” TCPS coach Kevin Hartigan said. “In Baker we dominated.”
Lease leads Tremont
Kari Lease, a senior, rolled a strike in the final frame to clinch Tremont’s first state championship on the lanes.
The Lady Eagles defeated Kossuth 174-172, 95-153, 108-102 and 161-145.
“We really stepped it up today,” said Lease, who led her team with a 188 high game and 647 high series in the four-game qualifier. “The atmosphere is different here. You get the feel that you’re at state.”
Tremont finished second in the qualifying with a 2,708 score. Kossuth captured the qualifier with a 2,784 score. Sydney Rider’s 194 high game and 619 high series paced the Aggies.
“We just stuck together today,” Tremont coach Sandy Webb said. “If one had a bad game we had others step in and help. We bowled really well as a team.”