The performances in the recent State Junior Match Games at Creole Lanes in Houma again showed how good some of these bowlers are — many of them off performances they can be proud of in the recent Junior Gold event we talked about last time in Detroit.
In full disclosure, this was the first time I was not the tournament director after seven years, so it was fun to watch the qualifying from a different perspective. A new group is now moving things forward in the state youth association, and I sense there is a feeling the sport bowling shots should now be used at Match Games to prepare them for the national event.
However, with the early success, and now apparent future for the Labor Day event at All-Star in Baton Rouge, I am strongly of the opinion that Match Games should stay as it is heading into its 50th renewal next year. This is the one tournament where high scoring has been the norm and the one you expect to see possible 300s and big sets. I hope there won’t be a rush to change this event just because.
The entries have proven the last eight years what a success this event has become after nearly being canceled nine years ago. What a mistake that would have been.
Now to the results. It’s hard to describe perfectly exactly what Justin Bui did in winning the boys open division. Compare it to Tiger Woods’ easy win this week in golf — maybe. After qualifying eighth of 12 on Saturday, Bui, of Baton Rouge, averaged just under 233 and won nine of 12 matches and 270 bonus pins to win by an unprecedented 305 pins to earn the $400 scholarship.
On the girls side, Jessica Quebedeaux won five of seven matches and had just enough pin fall to win the Classic title over Kaylene Adams of Baton Rouge, who won six of seven matches to take the other scholarship.
In the lower average division, Trey Kaufman of Baton Rouge took top honors winning five of six matches to win the $300 scholarship over Colin Smith of New Orleans. The girls regular division title went to Bridgette Soudelier of Houma with Katelynn Every of New Orleans in second.
Congrats to all the winners. For some, it was their final youth appearance before they go up to the adult leagues. For some, it’s on to college bowling and others trying to get even better for next year’s national youth events in Buffalo.
The Capital City Shootout made its debut a year ago with a format that made it an instant success, and the tournament returns Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 at All-Star Lanes in Baton Rouge. There are three sets of qualifying games on the 31st with sets on junior gold long, short and medium patterns.
The finals on Sunday are based on six players double elimination in each of four divisions — U20 boys and girls, U15 boys and girls. Last year, over $3,000 in scholarships was awarded. This is a perfect complement tournament with this format and conditions to State Match Games.
More than anything, it returns youth bowling in the state to the way it was for many years with match game in July and the old Mid-South Match Games over Labor Day at Circle Bowl. Both survived in the trophy/plaque area of youth bowling very successfully for decades before Mid-South eventually faded away. Hopefully, the Capital City Shootout will have as long a run of success.
Our local bowlers — Sumner Taylor and Deidra Johnson — took their shot as state qualifiers in the recent U.S. Open and both had their good moments in qualifying. Taylor finished 219th in the men’s field of 260 and his highs in the 24 games of qualifying were 216, 208 and 260. Johnson finished 102nd in the 109 women’s field with high game of 236.
If you watched the show, was it worth it to have the two champions — Liz Johnson and Wes Malott — meet in a glorified exhibition billed as “The Battle of the Sexes.” In bowling, it seemed especially weak when Johnson made the finals of a PBA event and Kelly Kulick won a PBA major. Consider the fact that two matches weren’t shown on ESPN in a two-hour show to make room for this exhibition, which occurred after both were on a high after winning the open and $50,000, and it makes you wonder if the sponsoring bowling proprietors were happy with this gimmick after it all played out.
Clay Duke led the scoring this week with a 790 at Premier Lanes with a 290 game, while the women’s scoring was topped by Lyndsey Stewart with a 725 (268). The youth leagues were paced by Justin Bui with a 757 and a 288 game and Angela Falgoust had a 299 game with a 706 series on a sport-shot lead at All-Star. The top senior score was by Louis Branch with a 724 and a 247 game. Brinkley Robinson had a perfect 300 game while senior bowler Bill Reid was 50 pins over average for his set.
We are back with you on Aug. 20. Until then, good luck and good bowling.
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