By Sam Graf
The Mascoutah High School Bowling teams had a busy but successful holiday break with three tournaments.
First, both squads participated in a Baker Format challenge at Hi-Top Bowl in Highland, in which the Indians finished third and the Lady Indians came in fourth.
Second, the Indians competed at the Panther Challenge — held at St. Clair Bowl, Saturday, December 29 — and after finishing fifth in the traditional and Baker formats in the morning, they lost to O’Fallon in round one of bracket play in the afternoon.
Last but certainly not least, the Lady Indians participated in their version of the Panther Challenge at St. Clair Bowl, Saturday, January 5, and (in the same format as the aforementioned boys’ competition) they won the title, defeating Cahokia, Collinsville, and Belleville East in bracket finale.
Additionally, the JV Girls also participated in their version of the Panther Challenge and finished fourth.
To get to bracket round of the Panther Challenge, the Mascoutah girls had finished second to O’Fallon after the first two rounds.
“With the additional week to prepare and a solid performance from all bowlers we were able to stay in the hunt throughout the day,” MHS Coach Mark Tubb said. “The girls were persistent and made few mistakes as they worked through the bracket final form.
“Our girls proved to be too focused and prepared for the Belleville East squad which had spent a lot of energy to defeat O’Fallon in the semi-final round. East could not duplicate the same results in the the finals. And with the spare shooting and a clutch performance by Corynne Bean in the anchor position, we pulled out the victory.
Despite not finishing at the top at Highland, Coach Tubb explained the silver lining of negotiating a different competition format.
“It helped identify a need to continue work on our spare shooting,” MHS Coach Mark Tubb said. “The Baker format is geared to identify those types of weaknesses and with it being a bit new to some of our bowlers they did struggle some.
“Overall, I would call it a successful event due to the amount of information they were able to learn and bring to practices between that event and the following tournaments over the next two weekends.”
And Tubb saw the improvement among the boys from Highland to the Panther Challenge: “Our boys bowleded well during both the morning session which was our typical league format while the afternoon was another baker format allowing us to see what we had learned in a week of practice since the Hi-Top challenge.
“We performed much better and were one of 4 teams that broke 3000 total pinfall in the baker format portion of the event.”