Source: Sherman Publications

Oxford Bowlers fought well at state finals

March 05, 2014

The Division 1 Michigan State Finals for bowling was held on February 28th at Sunnybrook Lanes in Sterling Heights. It is the last tournament of the season and marks the end of the 2013- 2014 season for bowling in Michigan High Schools. It will also be a day Oxford Boys and there families will not soon forget.

The 8th ranked Oxford Team qualified 3rd out of regionals. They hadn'’t been to the “dance” since 2010. The other 17 teams that were there represented top division 1 teams from around the state. The format was bowl 8 team Baker games and 2 regular team games. The top 8 teams by total pin count would be seeded and bowl head to head in the championship round. In the championship round you bowl 2 baker games and 1 regular game and the team with the highest pinfall moves on.

Oxford’s boy’s team would start with baker games of 194 and 235. This had them solidly in the cut of 8. Then they bowled 155 and 172, which had them in 13th place, nearly 60 pins out of the top 8. With work to do the Wildcats shot games of 206,202,224 and 213. The Wildcats would find themselves 51 pins out of the cut with 2 regular games to bowl. That’s when the senior leaders sparked the team. Co-Captain Sean McKinney tossed 10 strikes in a 263 game and fellow Co-Captain Brandon Hurlburt had 7 strikes in a row to finish with a 231 game. Junior bowler Drew Pappas got aboard and had a 236 game tossing 7 strikes in 9 frames. The team game of 1025 would put Oxford just 12 pins out of the cut. Leadoff bowler Jr Jake Delong fired up the team shooting 228 in game 2 as did McKinney. Kyle Woody came off the bench and had 6 strikes in 9 frames to keep the team pumped up. Oxford would shot a 1026 in game 2. Oxford would not only make it into the top 8 but jump into the 7th seed. It’s the first time an Oxford Boys team has advanced to the State finals Championship round.

There they would face The Catholic League Champions and 6th ranked Detroit Catholic Central. After the 2 baker games the Wildcats found themselves down 10 pins. In the head up game the wildcats jumped out front early behind Delong, Woody and Jr Brady Wynkoop. In the first 5 frames they tossed 10 out of a possible 15 strikes. The game would stay close until the two captains closed it out with 6 strikes in the last 3 frames to beat the Shamrocks by 34 pins, 930 to 896. This put the Wildcats in the Semi Finals against U of D Jesuit. Jesuit only 2 loses on the year where to Detroit Catholic Central.

The Wildcat boy’s and parents were fired up like never before. The crowd of parents was in the stands doing the wave and cheering like crazy as the Wildcats came out shooting 203 and 234 in the baker games. Jesuit answered with a fired up crowd of their own and games of 245 and 278. Down 86 pins the Wildcats fought tough by winning the head up game 1001 to 976.They weren'’t able to overcome all 86 pins thus ending the day for the Oxford bowlers. U of D Jesuit would go on to be State Champions.

“"The Parents and Coaches of these bowlers are so proud of their efforts today. Everyone chipped in today and we really made a run at the championship. I felt like the Jesuit match was the championship match," Head Coach J.R. Lafnear said."It was a battle and our hats are off too them, they’re a great team. Being down after a couple poor baker games these boys just fought and clawed to get back into the championship round. They just never quit or got down. Woody coming off the bench today was a huge boost. Delong and Pappas showed great toughness and Wynkoop just gutted it out. I can’t even tell you how much our 2 captains mend to us today. They were just solid leaders in every aspect. They deserved this type of ending to their high school bowling careers.”"