February 22, 2012 - The Oakland Activities Association league tournament was kind to the varsity boys bowling team as they brought home a second place finish.
Needing to place sixth out of 11 teams in order to advance to the elimination round, the boys qualified in sixth, setting up a match-up with the third seed North Farmington.
Oxford would beat North Farmington 220-144 in game one and 195-132 in game two to set up a semi-final showdown against Lake Orion.
Game one against the Dragons went Oxford's way, 189-182. Lake Orion battled back and won game two, 183-177. Oxford responded by winning game three 174-163, setting up a finals match-up against Berkley.
After game one saw Oxford destroy Berkley 203-149, the boys ran out of steam. The Wildcats lost game two 188-166, setting up a decisive third game for the league title. Berkley used the momentum gained from their game two victory to beat the Wildcats 222-168, claiming the league title.
"These boys just want to compete," varsity coach JR Lafnear said. "That was a great day for them and they performed well. They are young and talented and they hung in there all day on a real tough oil pattern. They should be proud of themselves. I'm sure proud of them."
Meanwhile, it was some tough luck for the girls during the tournament.
After starting the qualifying round in sixth place after two games, the girls rolled an average of 167 for their final six baker games, seeding them second and giving them a first round bye.
Their tournament run wouldn't last long as they split their first two semi-final games with Clarkston. In game three, Oxford posted a solid 168, but the Wolves anchor bowler Stephanie Lavely threw three strikes in the 10th frame to propel the Wolves to a five pin victory.
Oxford would then lose in the consolation round to Ferndale.
Despite the tournament loss, the girls still took home some high honors. Senior co-captains Heather Lafnear and Colleen Walters each earned first team all OAA conference. Senior Caitlyn Wroblewski made the second team all OAA.
On the boys side, sophomore Brandon Hurlburt was selected to first team all OAA.
The varsity bowling teams ran into a couple of high-rolling squads in their final two games of the OAA regular season.
On Thursday, Feb. 16, the Wildcats bowled crosstown rival Lake Orion. According to Lafnear, the Lake Orion boys rolled to a convincing 26-4 victory over the Wildcats.
"The boys bowled well but ran into a buzz saw today," Lafnear said. "Lake Orion is a good team and should do well going forward."
Meanwhile, the girls managed to get the jump on the Dragons, taking a 6-4 lead after the baker games and held on to win 17-13.
In game one, senior co-captain Heather Lafnear led Oxford with a 201, Brooke Harris had a 158 and Caitlyn Wroblewski rolled a 150.
Lake Orion responded in game two by winning three of five matches, with wins for Oxford coming by senior co-captain Colleen Walters and Wroblewski. Walters tied the school record with a 267 game, while Wroblewski won 201-147.
Even though Oxford lost game two by 10 pins, total score went in the Wildcats favor, thus sealing the match.
"The team needed the victory today," JR Lafnear said. "It will be a great boost for them going into...Regionals."
Both teams got blindsided by Clarkston on Feb. 5.
The boys lost 28-2, while the girls saw the Wolves come back to win 19-11 after trailing 10-0 after the baker games.
"This was a real disappointment today," Lafnear said. "The kids had a good week of practice and we didn't really see this coming. We were off our game...and Clarkston bowled very well."
Overall, the boys finished the season with a 4-4 record, while the girls finished at 5 1/2 - 2 1/2.
Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.