Lane 13 proves bad luck to the Cougars

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BC’s Borah 7th, NB’s Clark 8th

By Mike Farner

 LEXINGTON – The number 13 was certainly a bad number for the Bullitt Central boys’ bowling team on Friday at the Ebonite/Kentucky State Championships at Collins Eastland Bowling Center in Lexington.

After qualifying fifth out of the 16 teams in the early bowling, the Cougars advanced to the quarter-finals with a 3-1 victory over Apollo High School. That set up a match with Scott County to be played on lanes 13 and 14.

In the best of five format of ‘baker’ games, Bullitt Central won the first and third matches rolling on lane 14. In the back-and-forth format, Scott County won the second game when they were on lane 14.

Still, up 2-1 heading into the fourth game, Scott County suddenly struggled on lane 14, leaving the door open for the Cougars. The Cardinals rolled only a 157 game, a score that rarely wins in high school bowling. Unfortunately, on lane 13, Bullitt Central could do no better than 150, the team’s lowest scoring ‘baker’ game in the post-season.

That forced a fifth and deciding match and since they had the higher seed (number four), Scott County had lane choice. They opted to stay on lane 14, putting Bullitt Central back on lane 13. This time there was no opening as Scott County went onto win the fifth game 217-165.

It was a frustrating loss for the Cougars who were making their second consecutive trip to the state tournament. The team qualified sixth last year and lost in the first round of bracket play.

It got a little more frustrating for the Cougars a few hours later when they learned that Scott County went on to win the state title with a 3-1 victory over Highlands.

Bullitt Central assistant coach James Borah, who coaches the boys’ team (Benita McBride is the team’s head coach but has separate assistant coaches for the boys’ and girls’ teams), thought that Scott County might opt for lane 13 after the troubles they had in the fourth game, but that wasn’t the case.

“Apparently that isn’t our number. Unlucky 13,” Borah said after meeting with the team. “We were one game away.

“We had it in the bag and gave it away,” the coach added. “They rallied and finished us off. They did to us what we did to Pleasure Ridge Park in the regional. That changed everything.”

In the early morning qualifying, Bullitt Central’s two four-man teams bowled a 588 and a 634 for a score of 1222. Manual had the best qualifying score at 1363 and they were followed by East Jessamine and St. Xavier before Scott County and the Cougars.

Bullitt Central’s victory over Apollo came by scores of 218-202, 181-182, 206-167, 215-134. Scott County beat Dixie Heights 3-0 to set up the meeting with the Cougars.

The final numbers on the Bullitt Central match with Scott County had the Cardinals winning 158-217, 203-181, 201-212, 157-150, 217-165.

“I worked six guys in and out,” Borah said. “I don’t think we got tired. It was more mental than fatigue. There is a lot of pressure on the boys.”

In high school bowling, each team has two four-man teams in the qualifying rounds with the top three scores from each of the two teams being used and added together. Those eight players then move to the bracket format which involves ‘baker’ games with at least four bowlers being used in a rotation within a game.

Bullitt Central was without sophomore Tristan Lindsey who had bowled in the region tournament as he had the flu and did not make the trip.

“I thought we bowled well,” Borah concluded. “I was thinking top four, but some teams did better than I thought. I was happy with where we were seeded.”

“This was our second trip, but Scott County has been here a lot of years,” McBride said. “They are tough.”

Bullitt Central’s team members this year included two seniors, Ridge May and Josh Puher along with junior Matt Seay along with sophomores Jared Borah, Nolan Johns, Christen Owen and Stetson Norton.

Singles on Thursday

On Thursday, Bullitt Central sophomore Jared Borah and North Bullitt sophomore Logan Clark both competed in the state singles tournament with strong results.

Borah, who finished third in the regional tournament a week earlier, shot out of the gate with a 720 series (227, 256, 237) to open the tournament. That was the second best series of his career, just two pins short of the way he started the regional tournament. That put him in second place, but he was well off the pace of St. Xavier’s Brandon Flora who posted the best series in the lanes’ history at 831 with three straight 277 games.

Unfortunately, Borah could not keep up the pace. With the field whittled down to eight players (from 32 that started), Borah then bowled a 194 and a 160. That 1074 total put him in seventh place and did not advance him to the final stepladder event that included the top four scores.

“I just didn’t make good shots,” Jared Borah said after the team event on Friday of the singles action. “I was making good shots and then it just went away and it shouldn’t have.”

The sophomore was upset with his finish after the singles play, but he was feeling more pleased with a seventh-place finish in the state finals a day later.

“It feels pretty good now I guess,” he said. “I was a little disappointed, but I’m happy with that.”

Clark, who finished fourth in the regional tournament, improved each of his first three games and he needed to do that as his 660 series (204, 224, 232) was just four pins enough to advance to the semi-finals of the top eight players. At that point, Clark could not improve his position, rolling a 183 and then a 151 to finish at 994 and in eighth position.

Still, that is the best finish for a North Bullitt boys’ bowler in the state tournament since the event shifted to the KHSAA three years ago.