For the first time in school history, the Tullahoma High School boys bowling team will be hosting the sectional round of the playoffs, as the Wildcats captured the region title at home on Wednesday afternoon.
A mere 46 pins allowed Tullahoma to host the sectional, as the Wildcats were tied with Blackman at 12 after matches concluded. That meant the winner of the regional title bout came down to total match pins, with the leader receiving the final three points of the day. Tullahoma edged the Blaze in pins, 3,468-3,422, to capture the 15-12 victory.
“We’ve been here for six years and we’ve been the runner-up every time that we have competed at region,” said THS Manager Lamont Snipes. “I’m proud of them. They’re young. Like everything else, it’s isn’t the way that you begin, it’s the way you end that’s important. We had some young ones step up when I put them in to sub.”
Before the region championship even started, both Blackman and Tullahoma were already guaranteed spots in the sectional round of the playoffs. The Blaze defeated Lawrence County in the first round of the region tournament, while the Wildcats knocked off Smyrna 18-9, in order to extend their seasons.
With the region championship win, Tullahoma will now get to host the sectional next week. Blackman will have to head out on the road for its matchup. As of press time, a date and time for the sectional times have yet to be designated.
In that region title matchup, Tullahoma grabbed the lead early by winning four of the six individual matchups in the first set. The Wildcats then received two additional points for leading the set pins, 1,199-1,059, grabbing a 6-2 advantage.
Joe Pope scored the first win for Tullahoma after beating Justin Dowen 215-187. Josh Frank followed with a 244-113 victory over Abby Snow. AJ Matelstreet added a 230-224 win over James Berry, before Harley Penn scored a 191-143 victory over Chas Smart.
The teams split the individual matchups in the second set, each squad winning three games. Again, Tullahoma led in pins, 1,181-1,131, opening up an 11-5 advantage.
Keegan Hadley, Gunnar Klein and Matelstreet all notched the wins for Tullahoma in the second set. Hadley scored a 214-163 win over Nick Lannom. Klein followed with a 214-149 victory over Dowen, before Matelstreet beat Smart 245-182.
Tullahoma won just one individual matchup in the third set, as Blackman attempted to rally. The Blaze also led the final set in pins, 1,232-1,088, to even the matchup at 12.
Klein picked up the lone win for the Wildcats in the final set, after he was able to beat Aaden Soermer 214-192.
In the first matchup of the day, Tullahoma trailed 5-3 after the first set. The Wildcats won three individual matchups in the opening set, but Smyrna led in pins, 1,245-1,217.
Patrick Watts notched the first win for Tullahoma, edging out James Boone 182-181. Andrew Gonce followed with a 222-192 victory over Alex Elrod, while Matelstreet beat Blake Davis 266-193.
The Wildcats gained control of the match in the second set after winning four of the individual matchups. Tullahoma also led the set in pins, 1,127-1,070, opening up a 9-7 advantage.
Gonce recorded the first win for Tullahoma after beating Elrod 166-155. Pope then eked out a 192-191 win over Aaron Roe. Matelstreet captured a 193-163 victory over Davis, while Penn notched a 243-217 win over Elizabeth Coutta.
Tullahoma once again added four individual wins in the third set and also led in pins, 1,086-1,075, in order to grab a 15-9 advantage. The Wildcats added the final three points after leading the match in pins, 3,430-3,390, securing the 18-9 victory.
Hadley scored the first win for Tullahoma in the final set, downing Boone 225-194. Gonce followed with a 180-169 victory over Elrod. Matelstreet then captured a 182-168 win over Nick Clayton. Penn closed out the match with a 201-197 win over Coutta.
The Tullahoma girls bowling team will also be participating in the region tournament. However, they will be traveling to Lawrence County on Friday for their matchups.
Other schools in the region tournament include: Stewarts Creek, Lawrence County and Central Magnet. Matches are scheduled to get underway at 11 a.m.