By Keith Dunlap
Special for Second Half
WATERFORD – There couldn’t have been a more appropriate showdown for the Division 2 girls bowling team championship Friday.
Flint Kearsley and Tecumseh entered No. 1 and No. 2 in number of Division 2 titles won, and happened to be seeded No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, out of the qualifying block.
Both won their quarterfinals and semifinals to set up a rematch of last year’s Final. But from there, Kearsley went out and took sole possession of the spotlight.
Kearsley won its sixth straight Division 2 title with a 1,352-1,239 win over Tecumseh, although it took a rally late in the regular game.
“I’ve got seven of the best girls I think I’ve ever had,” Kearsley head coach Rob Ploof said. “This is one heck of a team.”
After leading by two pins following the two Baker games, Kearsley struggled in the first few frames and saw Tecumseh take a sizable lead.
But Kearsley showed its championship mettle, rallying to win the regular game going away, 997-886.
“I just got them together and said, ‘You’ve got to want it. You’ve got to want it more than they do,’” Ploof said. “They had to find a way to win the game, and they did.”
Kearsley knocked off Coldwater in a quarterfinal, 1,315-1,135, before beating Charlotte in one semifinal, 1,332-1,264.
Tecumseh beat Mason in the quarterfinals, 1,309-1,204, before topping Carleton Airport in the other semi by just six pins, 1,151-1,145.
Tecumseh was seeking its first Finals title since it won three straight from 2008-10.
“Rob is an amazing coach, and it seems like when he huddles them up, they come out striking,” Tecumseh head coach Ken Richard said. “We couldn’t hang with them. But they blew us out of the water last year, and we hung with them longer this time. I’m real proud of the girls.”
As for the boys competition, the Final matchup was the opposite scenario featuring two teams that advanced to the championship match for the first time.
New Boston Huron and Tecumseh both made it farther than they ever had, but it was New Boston Huron that took home the championship trophy, knocking off Tecumseh by a score of 1,403-1,352.
“It’s been a special year,” New Boston Huron head coach Larry Collins said. “It’s a team of destiny. They worked hard and probably were the best group of kids I’ve had.”
New Boston Huron was the top seed out of the qualifying block, while Tecumseh was the seventh seed.
Continuing its dominance throughout the day, New Boston Huron took a 436-321 lead after the two Baker games.
Tecumseh made it interesting in the regular game and beat New Boston Huron 1,031-967, but that margin wasn’t enough to overcome the Baker deficit.
New Boston Huron beat Jackson Northwest in the quarterfinals, 1,296-1,231, and then beat Owosso in one semifinal, 1,323-1,166.
Tecumseh beat Coldwater in a quarterfinal, 1,320-1,187, and then dispatched Cadillac in the semifinals, 1,422-1,325.
Tecumseh junior bowler Hunter Rapaich, the second bowler in the lineup, rolled a 300 during the regular game.
New Boston Huron photo courtesy of New Boston Huron athletic department.