SMYRNA — Since they were going to the same place, both Bradley Central bowling teams made the trip to Middle Tennessee together Saturday for the TSSAA Sectional playoffs, but neither will be …
SMYRNA — Since they were going to the same place, both Bradley Central bowling teams made the trip to Middle Tennessee together Saturday for the TSSAA Sectional playoffs, but neither will be returning for the state tournament this week.
Falling to Region 4 champions, the Bears, who were originally scheduled to make the journey today, came out on the short end of a 22-5 tally against unbeaten Smyrna in their rescheduled tilt, while the Bearettes dropped a 17-10 outcome to Blackman.
After winning their first 20 matches, the Bears fell in the region finals and the substate, while the Bearettes went 10-8 on the campaign.
"This is one of the most memorable seasons we have had in our last three years at Bradley," head coach Chelsea Helton said of her tenure.
"This year has been one, if not my most favorite year yet. Both teams have made so much growth and improvement.
"Their hard work and love for the sport has shown throughout this entire year. We may not have won all our matches but they had fun and truly played as a team. I'm truly going to miss this group of seniors and the atmosphere they have brought to the team," she added.
Despite winning 10 of the 18 heads-up matches, the Bradley girls didn't take any pin fall bonus points Saturday with the Blaze posting a 2,854-2,659 victory.
Blackman (15-3) was led by Bayleigh Snow and Sarah Sanes with 685 (278, 231) and 610 (247) series respectively.
Junior individual state qualifier Makayla Stewart paced the Bearettes with a 523 series, including 207 game, with sophomore Hannah Winters was right behind her with a 520 three-game tally. Winters won all three of her heads-up battles, while Stewart two.
Juniors Sarah Stinnett and Angelica Alonso helped out with 425 and 423 totals.
"Makayla and Hannah have been the leaders on the girls team this year but all of the girls have stepped up and worked hard this season," Coach Helton praised
"We enjoyed having Brie (Prichett) join us her for her senior year. Another great job by Haley Crisp who joined us after the season started. Haley has really helped us gain points and pin fall against tough teams.
"I'm so proud to say that Makayla Stewart has made it to individual state and will continue her match play this week," the coach commented.
The Bears ran into a buzzsaw as Smyrna (21-0), which has made the state's last three Final Fours, put up an astronomical 3,650-2,994 pin fall victory.
The host Bulldogs posted 11 200-plus games, including a trio of 648 or better series.
Seniors Colin Cartwright and Rollins Austin led the Bradley (20-2) effort with 480 and 468 three-game totals respectively, both rolling a 178 game.
Edward Ahlemon, a senior home school student, rolled the top games for the Bears with a 230 and a 194 before combining with freshman Chase Holt for a 161 in the final round.
Junior Dallas Taynor had a 354 tally in his first two games before also giving way to a teammate in the final round.
"I'm very proud of both teams and hope that my seniors will continue their love of the sport," declared Coach Helton. "Our seniors — Colin (Cartwright), Rollins (Austin), Peyton (Kent) and Edward (Ahlemon) — lead our team through a great season. Until postseason, we were undefeated. They all brought excitement and the love for bowling to the lanes.
"I'm am once again grateful to be able to coach an amazing group of young men and women. They truly worked hard this season, and I'm blessed they came out on top," she added.
Stewart will join Walker Valley rollers Natily Haro and Jacob Brown in the TSSAA State Individual Tournament Thursday and Friday in Smyrna.
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