Southside bowling teams make it to state semifinals

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Photo: The Southside High girls bowling team watches the scoreboard during the semifinals of the AHSAA Class 1A-5A state tournament on January 27 at The Alley at the Gadsden Mall. (Chris McCarthy/Messenger)

By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor

The Southside boys and girls bowling team’s seasons came to an end in the AHSAA state tournament semifinals January 27 at The Alley at the Gadsden Mall.
The Lady Panthers opened the elimination round with a 4-2 (906-740) win over John Carroll Catholic before coming up short to eventual state champion Beauregard, 3-4, in the semifinals. Southside jumped out to a 2-0 lead against the Lady Hornets, with Kelsey Hull bowling a strike in the second game to give Southside narrow win.
Beauregard got back in the match with a 151 to 149 victory in the third game, however, then evened the series at 2-2 with a 190 to 151 win.
Southside went back ahead 3-2 in the sixth game after being down by 35 pins, with the Lady Panthers nailing four straight strikes down the stretch. But the Lady Hornets forced a seventh game with a 150 to 145 win.
Southside could not recover after falling behind early in the deciding match. Beauregard led 95 to 64 halfway through the frame, and the Lady Hornets eventually won by a score of 168 to 128.
Southside head coach Zack Blume said his team left one too many opportunities on the table against Beauregard.
“We missed way too many spares,” he said. “We should have put them away in game 6. Basically, [Beauregard] got the spares they needed, and we didn’t. This is a young group that competed as hard as it could, but we just didn’t finish the job. It wasn’t our day. I hate it for our senior Emily Norris, because I legitimately thought we were going to win it this year and get her a ring. We have five freshmen, and they’ve got to learn how to win before they can win big. But they’ll bounce back from this. Today’s been disappointing, but I’m very excited about what’s coming back.”
The Southside boys posted a 4-2 (987 to 915) quarterfinal win in the best-of-seven Baker format over Beauregard before falling in the semifinals to West Point, 4-2 (1,004 to 928). The Panthers and West Point were tied 2-2 before the Warriors won the final two games.
Blume thought the Panthers had a chance in the sixth game until West Point racked up six straight strikes.
“[West Point] got some bounces, and we didn’t,” said Blume. “We tried to match [West Point], but it’s tough to beat someone when you’ve got to be perfect. We definitely gave [West Point] all they could handle, but sometimes you come up short when the other team gets [the pins] to fall and you don’t. We gave it everything we had, and I’m so proud of these guys. One through eight, they worked hard. I told the guys that this just didn’t happen to be our year, but next year’s going to be our year.”
Sparked by Phillips’ first-place individual performance, the Lady Panthers finished first in the tradition three-game qualifying round on January 26. Phillips bowled 179, 135 and 171 to finish with a tournament-best 485 score, 10 more points than second-place Carol Anne Wilson of East Limestone.
Southside finished with 2,175 points, edging East Limestone by 175 pins. Also medaling in the top eight for the Lady Panthers was Cora Clontz in fourth place (162, 144,157 – 463) and Keilsy Hull in ninth (136, 160, 139 – 435).
The Southside boys finished fourth in traditional play with 2,357 points. Jordan Wood topped the Panthers with a 527 score, followed by Evan Clay with 302, Jack Kilgo and Dalton Suther with 210 each and Jackson Pate with 274. Wood medaled by finishing eighth in individual play out of 41 competitors.

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