FARMINGTON HILLS – At this rate, maybe the Clarkston boys bowling team should lobby the Michigan High School Athletic Association to not have head-to-head Baker game matches at the upcoming state finals.
Typically at most high school bowling tournaments, teams bowl Baker games (five bowlers bowling two frames each) against one other opponent in head-to-head competition, after a qualifying block where teams bowl as many pins as possible to see who advances to the head-to-head Baker game format that features 16 squads.
That’s not the case at regional tournaments, where it’s just simply the most total pins a team bowls after six Baker games and three regular games, where all five bowlers bowl a full game.
Not facing an opponent in a head-to-head Baker game seems to suit Clarkston just fine, as the Wolves captured their second straight regional tournament on Friday at Drakeshire Lanes, thus qualifying for next Friday’s Division 1 team state tournament in Muskegon.
The Wolves finished with a final score of 3,838.
Clarkston co-coach Al Pittman said his team has struggled in head-to-head Baker games this season, which has led to the Wolves being eliminated in tournaments throughout the season.
But that wasn’t an issue on Friday with it essentially just being straight qualifying.
“All year we’ve been bowling really well as far as qualifying goes,” Pittman said. “We’ll have one bad (Baker game) and it’ll cost us a tournament. We just do a little better with pure qualifying.”
Also advancing to the state tournament was Waterford Kettering, which was second at 3,810, and Lake Orion, which grabbed the third and final qualifying spot with a final total of 3,769.
In the girls regional, Walled Lake Central finished first with 3,704 pins and qualified for the state tournament for the seventh year in a row.
“It’s a grueling format,” Central head coach Kevin Hysell said. “You’ve got to get every pin you can get and you’ve got to stay focused and stay in it. You can’t let up.”
Joining Central in Muskegon for the girls state tournament will be Lake Orion, which took second with 3,673 pins, and third-place Waterford Mott, which finished with a final total of 3,602.
For Central, it hopes it can build from last year when the Vikings lost in the semifinals at the state tournament.
“They know what to expect and we’re looking forward to going back and trying to get what we left,” Hysell said.
The individual regional tournament will take place on Saturday Drakeshire Lanes, with bowlers from the same schools competing.
E-mail Keith Dunlap at firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @kd2578
Division 1 bowling regional
(at Drakeshire Lanes, top-3 teams advance to state finals)
TEAM RESULTS – Clarkston 3,838; Waterford Kettering 3,810; Lake Orion 3,769; North Farmington 3,736; Waterford Mott t3,693; Farmington/Harrison 3,565; Walled Lake Northern 3,506; Birmingham Brother Rice 3287; Troy Athens 3,286; Walled Lake Central 3,277; Hartland 3,184; Lakeland 3,127; Walled Lake Western 3,095; Milford 1,835.
TEAMS RESULTS – Walled Lake Central 3,704; Lake Orion 3,673; Waterford Mott 3,602; Walled Lake Western 3,408; Farmington/Harrison 3,369; North Farmington 3,354; Farmington Hills Mercy 3,171; Clarkston 3,137; Waterford Kettering 3,105; Lakeland 3,040; Hartland 3,005; Walled Lake Northern 2,928; Troy Athens 2,605; Milford 2,424.