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Last season, the John Hardin Bulldogs boys’ bowling team was able to count on their Lady Bulldog counterparts to root them on at State.
That won’t be happening again next week. Because instead of playing the role of cheerleaders, the Lady Bulldogs will be competitors after they earned their first State berth by finishing second to Taylor County in the 2nd Region team tournament Tuesday at Dix-E-Town Lanes.
Dix-E-Town proprietor and tournament director Dean Taylor, who has worked with all three area bowling schools, said John Hardin’s perseverance more than paid off.
“I’m just so impressed with how fast they’ve excelled,” Taylor said. “Last year, they were just happy it was a sport and just to get to go to region and see the competition. This year, they’ve been able to compete with top-level competition and the stats showed it. I said last year that the Hardin County schools would be able to compete, but who knew it would happen the very next year?”
The Lady Bulldogs put themselves in a good position by finishing third in the eight-player seeding game with a six-person total of 824. Once the best 3-of-5 bakers started, John Hardin was matched with the sixth-seeded Thomas Nelson Lady Generals (663). John Hardin won the quarterfinal, 3-0 (125-87, 186-91, 167-113).
In the semifinals, the Lady Bulldogs took on the second-seeded Central Hardin Lady Bruins (833), who earned a 3-1 (102-105, 105-98, 136-84, 137-127) win over the seventh-seeded Green County Lady Dragons (540) in the quarterfinals. After Central Hardin and John Hardin split their first two games, the Lady Bulldogs emerged with a 3-1 (144-109, 127-131, 159-116, 161-137) win to earn their State trip.
“I’m excited for it,” said sophomore Hannah Caudill, who usually rolls in the No. 3 spot for the Lady Bulldogs and is John Hardin’s youngest starter. “We have definitely improved and have come closer together as a team.”
That set up the final with top-seeded Taylor County, which received a quarterfinal bye and dispatched of the fourth-seeded Nelson County Cardinals in the top-bracket semifinal, 3½-½ (179-179, 204-176, 180-127, 170-134). Nelson County advanced to the semifinals by topping the fifth-seeded North Hardin Lady Trojans, 3-1 (205-163, 176-114, 145-126, 159-127).
Last year, Taylor County beat North Hardin in the final after the Lady Cardinals crushed John Hardin.
“They stomped on us,” said John Hardin junior No. 4 slot bowler Morgan Parsons of last year’s region match with Taylor County.
That wasn’t the case in the postseason rematch as John Hardin won the first game and played the Lady Cardinals within a pin in the third game before falling, 3-1 (185-189, 181-92, 156-155, 226-99).
Knowing they had already accomplished two goals – getting to State and getting their first win against Taylor County’s starters in a baker series, Parsons and senior captain Karen Ledford pulled themselves out of the second game to allow other seniors to compete in the region.
“We were already so excited to be going to State,” said Ledford, who will also be going to State as an individual after finishing third Monday. “It’s not that we didn’t care, but we also had to be realistic that we weren’t going to beat them.”
John Hardin coach Jenny Brown appreciated her captains’ gesture.
“Karen had already achieved everything she needed to achieve and her and Morgan decided everyone should be able to taste the success of going to State,” Brown said.
The region runner-up finish is the first for a John Hardin girls’ team in six years, which will earn the team a banner in the rafters of the Dawg Pound gymnasium.
“Considering I play three different sports, that’s kind of sad and disappointing,” Parsons said. “But it’s OK; the boys only have like 22 banners of their own or something like that. I guess they’re trying to overcompensate for our girls’ teams.”
Nathaniel Bryancan be reached at (270) 505-1758 or firstname.lastname@example.org
2ND REGION TEAM TOURNAMENT
ELIZABETHTOWN— Team results from Tuesday’s seven-school 2nd Region Bowling Tournament on the top-hat oil pattern at Dix-E-Town Lanes:
1. Taylor County 556-519—1,075
Shelby Barnett, 215 Hannah Brockman, 155
Cherith Brockman, 159 x-Justice Burchett, 147
x-Summer Hunt, 130 McKayla Sprowles, 201
Megan Hedgespeth, 182 Candace Gibson, 163
2. Central Hardin 422-411—833
Alneisha Butler, 145 Tyana Nowlan, 162
Mary Zeitler, 145 Becca Himebaugh, 133
Chelsea Tribus, 132 x-Jessica Bates, 92
x-Mercedes Cote, 108 Paige Russell, 116
3. John Hardin 438-386—824
Stephanie Allen, 136 Denea Graves, 122
Hannah Caudill, 136 x-Caitlyn Scott, 107
x-Morgan Parsons, 124 Ebonie Hampton, 139
Karen Ledford, 166 Sarah Wolfe, 127
4. Nelson County 455-351—806
x-Bess Johnson, 71 x-Erin Hall, 65
Taylor Hall, 148 Olivia Willett, 117
Kristen Curtsinger, 127 Hallie Hardin, 112
Kelsey Hellard, 180 Baylee Tabler, 122
5. North Hardin 355-359—714
Brittanie Mahanna, 105x-Brooke Mahanna, 105
x-Grace Maddox, 81 Mary-Kate Dennis, 115
Ariana Martinez, 134 Jillian Shufelt, 119
Allie Dennis, 116 Ally Eastman, 125
6. Thomas Nelson 363-300—663
Kristin Cecil, 155 Jordan Hamilton, 111
Laryn Hilderbrandt, 102 Hannah Rucker, 99
x-Mikayla Brady, 84 Emily Davis, 90
Michaela McIntosh, 106 x-Olivia Hagan, 84
7. Green County 282-258—540
Michaela Wright, 78 Keana Shoe, 54
Emily McMahan, 116 Shauna Walker, 100
Taylor Warren, 88 Sarah Jo Calhoun, 104
x-Empty, 0 x-Empty, 0
No. 1 Taylor County received a bye
No. 4 Nelson County def. No. 5 North Hardin, 3-1 (205-163, 176-114, 145-126, 159-127)
No. 3 John Hardin def. No. 6 Thomas Nelson, 3-0 (125-87, 186-91, 167-113).
No. 2 Central Hardin def. No. 7 Green County, 3-1 (102-105, 105-98, 136-84, 137-127)
No. 1 Taylor County def. No. 4 Nelson County, 3½-½ (179-179, 204-176, 180-127, 170-134)
No. 3 John Hardin def. No. 2 Central Hardin, 3-1 (102-105, 105-98, 136-84, 137-127)
No. 1 Taylor County def. No. 3 John Hardin, 3-1 (185-189, 181-92, 156-155, 226-99)