Photo: Southside High’s Cora Lee Clontz (left) and Jessica Clontz display their all-state medals following the Lady Panthers loss in the quarterfinal round of the Class 6A/7A girls state bowling tournament on Jan. 29 in Pelham. (Submitted photo)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
For the first time in five years, the Southside High girls bowling team did not bring home the state’s blue trophy.
The Lady Panthers fell short against Stanhope Elmore, 1,493 to 1,418, in the quarterfinal round last Friday (Jan. 29) at the Class 6A/7A state bowling tournament at Oak Mountain Lanes in Pelham. The loss to the Lady Mustangs ended Southside’s four-year run as state champion, along with a 12-game winning streak in the state tournament championship bracket from 2017 to 2020.
Except for Stanhope-Elmore, Southside’s quarterfinal score was the highest of any other in the state tournament.
“You can’t win it every year,” said Southside bowling coach Zach Blume. “We knew that [Stanhope-Elmore] was good, and they had a better game than we did. A lot of times we’re on the winning end of a match like that, and eventually we were bound to have one not go our way.”
Southside’s Jessica Clontz rolled a 199 in the quarterfinal’s traditional game, followed by Cora Lee Clontz with a 183 score.
“It was pretty close during the traditional game, but [Stanhope-Elmore] had a girl who was throwing down strike after strike, and we didn’t have anyone who match her,” said Blume. “Except for her, the rest of our scores were pretty much even with the rest to [Stanhope-Elmore’s team], and that was the difference. We had our highest score of the year, but so did [Stanhope-Elmore], and they beat us fair and square. But our girls gave everything they had, and I’m not disappointed in their effort, by any means.”
Along with the Baker Game, the Lady Panthers also finished second to Stanhope Elmore in the quarterfinal traditional round, 929 to 856. Southside rolled a 217 score in the Baker Single Game.
“I couldn’t have asked for anything more out of our girls; they bowled great,” said Blume. “We lose three good seniors [in Jessica and Jennifer Clontz and Rose Losco], which is a lot to lose. But Keilsey Hull is only a ninth grader, and she’s been huge for us the past few years, and of course we have Cora Lee [Clontz]. We have a couple of more who are coming back who have a lot of potential, but they’re very young. Hopefully we’ll make big strides and be back [at the state tournament] next year.”