Brother Martin, AOL repeat as state bowling champs
BATON ROUGE – Both team bowling championship trophies are headed back to New Orleans, where they’ll sit right next to the 2018 trophies.
Brother Martin’s boys and Academy of Our Lady’s girls successfully defended their state championships Thursday at All Star Lanes.
The second-seeded Crusaders survived a tough semifinal with previously unbeaten Central Lafourche and defeated Catholic League rival Archbishop Rummel 21-6 in the title match – their fourth title in five years.
The Penguins, seeded No. 8 but with the highest starting lineup average in the field, rallied from an early deficit to defeat Central 14.5-12.5 to become the first repeat champion in girls bowling since Lafayette High in 2009-10.
The semifinals and finals were streamed live by Crescent City Sports.
Brother Martin, which finished 17-0, closed solidly in each of the first two games of the final to take leads of 5-3 and 11-5 before closing out the match by winning seven of eight points in the final game. The Crusaders finished with a 3,708 team series.
Two of Brother Martin’s five seniors led the way in their final team matches. Brennan Brouilette, bowling in the No. 1 position, had a 672 series, including a 267 final game. Cody Schaffer had a 658 set, including games of 247 and 235, and sophomore Drew Gardner fired a 656 series.
Quin Cadella paced Rummel in the championship match with a 267 opening game and 633 series.
“Give Rummel a lot of credit,” Himbert said of the Raiders, who helped produce the first all-New Orleans bowling final since Shaw defeated Brother Martin in 2009. “They came a long way this year … a long way.”
The first year of the power point-driven bracket put three teams from the I-10 corridor in both the boys and girls semifinals.
“We’ve always had to beat each other up (in the playoffs),” Himbert said. “We could have had four (New Orleans) teams here. We did very well.”
Brother Martin, which is 98-2 over the last six years, was pushed to the limit by third-seeded Central Lafourche in the semifinals.
The Crusaders led 11-5 going into the final game, but Central Lafourche fired a 1,296 final game to win five of six individual matches and the total pins. Clutch shots in the final frame allowed Brother Martin to maintain an edge in overall total pins, and those three points were the difference in a 15-12 victory. Brother Martin’s 3,637 team series was 36 pins better than the Trojans’ 3,601.
“I’ve thrown a lot of big shots in my career, but that was the best shot of my life,” said Schaffer of his strike in the final frame.
“They gave us everything we could,” said Himbert, whose team had not had a match closer than 20-7 in its first 15 victories. “We haven’t been tested the whole season, but we needed to get through the last game.”
Sophomore Andrew Levron led Central Lafourche with a 701 series. Hunter Dunn led Brother Martin with a 631, including a 251 second game.
In the other boys semifinal, Rummel swept all eight points in the second game to break a 4-4 tie and the Raiders went on to a 20-7 victory over previously unbeaten and top-seeded Central.
Josh Bares led Rummel in the semifinal victory with a 618 series. The Raiders had a 3,387 team series.
Despite losing three starters to graduation, AOL used its depth to repeat as champs. The Penguins rallied from an early three-point deficit in the final by winning seven of eight points in the middle game, then held on for the victory over Central.
“We lost three starters, so we had to reboot,” AOL coach Robert Chauvin said. “We improved throughout the year and they worked hard today. This wasn’t like last year. They did a great job.”
All six Penguin regulars had series above 480, led by Macy Glenn’s 551 from the No. 1 spot. Danielle Poussard had a 212 second game and a 545 series from the anchor position. AOL finished with a 3,069 team series, including a 1,078 second game.
“We knew today wasn’t going to be an easy, fun ride,” said Poussard. “We just wanted it that bad.”
Destiny Sheldon paced Central in the final match with a 573 series.
In the girls semifinals, Academy of Our Lady won 13 of 16 points in the final two games in taking a 21-6 victory over East Ascension – a rematch of last year’s championship – while the day’s tightest match saw Central escape with a 14.5-12.5 victory over South Terrebonne.
Lauryn Hartsell led AOL in the semis with a 535 series, including a 212 middle game. Hannah Grather topped East Ascension with a 574 set.
The Central-South Terrebonne match was separated by one pin, which proved to be the deciding factor. Central finished with a 2,633 team series to South Terrebonne’s 2,632.
Destini Gautreaux had games of 210 and 200 for the Wildcats in the semis, while Alanna Coward had a team-best 544 series.
Both Brother Martin and AOL will deal with significant graduation losses. The Crusaders lose five seniors, including four starters, while the Penguins have seven seniors departing.
“It might be tough next year,” said Himbert, “but (winning) doesn’t get old.”
The two-day championship event concludes with 80 boys and 48 girls competing for singles medalist honors Friday at 1:30 p.m., also at All Star.
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Lenny has been involved in college athletics since the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…