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News / Sports / Prep Sports

Prairie edges Evergreen in good ol’ bowling shootout

Evergreen freshman is top individual at 3A district event

By Andy Buhler, Columbian Staff Writer
Published: January 25, 2019, 11:10pm
2 Photos
The Prairie bowling team poses after winning the 3A district title at Crosley Lanes on Friday.
The Prairie bowling team poses after winning the 3A district title at Crosley Lanes on Friday. (Andy Buhler/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

What is it called when two bowling teams go down to the wire: Shootout? Roll-off? Bowl-down?

“I would just call it a shootout,” Prairie coach Rhonda Bash said. “A total shootout.”

If the 3A Greater St. Helens League standings were any indicator, the Falcons came into the 3A district bowling tournament as slight underdogs.

But at district bowling, there’s no seeding favorability or home-court advantage. The team that rolls the best, wins.

And on Friday, the Prairie bowling team was that team. The Falcons erased a 167-pin deficit in the baker games to edge Evergreen for the 3A district title at Crosley Lanes.

Evergreen freshman Kailee Wilcox won the individual 3A district title, and did so by bowling a 212 average in her three games, well above her season average, which she placed in the 170-180 range.

“I’ve been bowling good this season, but this is the best I’ve bowled,” Wilcox said.

Prairie and Evergreen both qualified for state as teams, per the district’s two-team allotment. Mountain View’s Serrah Kienitz and Lauren Johnson and Fort Vancouver’s Rose Ugbinada and McKenna Ellen all qualified for state as individuals.

Kienitz rolled 194-224-215 for 633 overall, Johnson had 183-214-145 for 542 total, Ellen had 183-214-145 for 542, too, and Ugbinada knocked down 190-159-207 for 556.

The state tournament takes place Jan. 31-Feb. 2 at Narrows Plaza Bowl in University Place.

Fort Vancouver was within 59 pins of second place entering bakers, but Evergren and Prairie proved too hot to catch up.

Prairie and Evergreen traded the lead multiple times throughout seven baker games, until Prairie unleashed a tournament-high 235 in the final game to give the Falcons the ultimate advantage, 3893-3883.

Lilly Bash and Lauren Hapgood served back-to-back strikes in the eighth and ninth frames, then sophomore Anna Gatlin tossed the decisive final two strikes in the 10th.

Wilcox had bowled competitively in local leagues before coming into Evergreen as a freshman, but she surprised herself with her performance Friday.

She even took teammates aback, too.

“My little freshman, she definitely surprised me,” Evergreen senior Kerissa Andersen said. “Coming in as a freshman and winning it is amazing. I’m so proud of her.”

Andersen now prepares to make her fourth consecutive trip to state with Evergreen. By now, she said, the nerves have mostly worn off. But in her four years, she said she’d never experienced baker games as intense as the shootout with Prairie.

“No, not like that,” Andersen said. “It was an experience. Very stressful.”

After the event finished, Heritage athletic director Leta Meyer gathered the participants and spectators and announced the winners. She paused while introducing the 3A winners.

“I don’t know, someone must have poured gasoline on Prairie, because they were kind of on fire,” Meyer, who facilitated the event, said.

A roar of applause followed.

Columbian Staff Writer