After splitting six individual matches to open Thursday’s quarterfinal clash with Lebanon, Spring Hill faltered in the pivotal second game and was eliminated from the TSSAA Division I boys bowling state tournament at Smyrna Bowling Center.
The Raiders claimed just one head-to-head matchup in Game 2, allowing Lebanon to grab the lead en route to an 18-9 victory.
“We just didn’t get any breaks,” Spring Hill coach Don McKinnon said. “All the credit (goes) to Lebanon. They did what they had to do. They’re a group of fine young men and coaches. We just couldn’t compete. It wasn’t our day.
“Probably the nerves got the best of us. We did the best we could. The pins just didn’t go our way. We were up 5-3 after the first game. Things fell apart after that.”
Jeremy Gearlds finished with a 559 series and Nick Erdman with a 532 – after competing in Wednesday’s individual state tourney – to lead the Raiders.
“It’s been an amazing season,” McKinnon said regarding Spring Hill’s first state tourney campaign. “It’s probably the finest group of young men and women I’ve had the pleasure of coaching.
“They’re champions no matter what happened on the lanes.”
Lebanon fell in the semifinals, as Hardin County defeated the Blue Devils after a quarterfinal win over Centennial. The Tigers will face Smyrna – which defeated Sevier County in the quarters and Bartlett in the semis – in Friday’s 8:30 a.m. championship match.
In Division II boys individual competition, Columbia Academy senior Austin Kimes advanced into the ladder match finals after rolling a 732 in the four-game semifinals.
“He saved the best for last,” CA coach Derek Ransom said, referring to Kimes’ 189 in his final game – giving him just enough to move on as the sixth-place finisher, ahead of Pope John Paul II Matthew Mesecher’s 731 total.
“That particular oil pattern was probably the most challenging we’ve seen all year. You didn’t have a lot of wiggle room. Austin bowled well. He made his spares; that was probably the main thing.
Kimes, a Martin Methodist signee, had games of 178, 181 and 184 before his nailbiting final game. He came into the tournament averaging 206.25, the eighth-best mark among state qualifiers.
C.J. Petrin of Notre Dame was the top championship round qualifier, rolling an 832 through the semifinals – 66 points ahead of the No. 2 finalist, Brendan Donlevy of Briarcrest. St. Benedict’s Riley Martin (757), Boyd Buchanan’s Caleb Kelley (738) and Briarcrest’s Andrew Billions (737) rounded out the finals field.
“He’ll have to climb every step on the ladder to get to the championship,” Ransom said of Kimes, who will open at 8:30 a.m. Friday against Billions.
CA sophomores Connor Butt (700) and Foster Isenberg (610) placed 14th and 24th, respectively.
“They had a little tougher time adjusting as the lanes changed,” Ransom said. “Austin was a little quicker picking it up.”