Otsego girls win Wolverine Conference bowling crown
Members of the Otsego girls’ bowling team knew full well what was at stake.
Seeding second at the Wolverine Conference Tournament after a 6-1 showing during the regular season, the Bulldogs needed to finish ahead of top-seeded Paw Paw to claim the overall league title.
That’s exactly what they did.
Otsego took first place in the tournament—which was a best three-of-five Baker games format—thanks to a win over Sturgis in the finals, thereby claiming the overall championship.
Allegan finished fifth in the tournament and sixth in the overall standings.
“It was definitely a dream come true to win the Wolverine Conference title,” Otsego coach Wendy Lovett said. “I knew this team had the potential to do great things this year.
“What has impressed me the most about this group of athletes was how not only dedicated they were to improving their skills, but also their dedication to their teammates. They are such a great group of young ladies and I have truly been blessed to have each one of them on the team this year.”
Otsego cruised to 3-0 wins over Three Rivers in the first round Plainwell in the semifinals to advance to the finals.
Sturgis, meanwhile, upset Paw Paw in the other semifinal.
The Bulldogs split the first four games with Sturgis before winning the winner-take-all fifth game to seal the title.
Otsego captains Carley Blanchard (a junior) and Kristen Holt (senior) both earned First Team All-Conference honors. Senior Mackenzie Banas—a transfer from Wayland who signed to bowl for Midland University next fall—and freshman Faith Weaver made Second Team All-Conference.
Allegan, meanwhile, entered the tournament in a three-way tie for fourth place.
In their opening match, the Tigers dropped the first two games to Plainwell before winning the next two. The deciding fifth game went to Plainwell, sending Allegan into the consolation bracket.
In the consolation bracket, matches were decided by taken the total pin count from three games.
After beating Three Rivers 417-314, the Tigers fell behind South Haven 148-123 after one game. But Allegan put together its best showing of the tournament in the second game with a 164 to go up 287-268.
The third game saw Theresa Tice, Haylee Thompson and Brooklyn Reed put up three strikes in a row as Allegan won the match 443-402.
Thompson earned First Team All-Conference for Allegan, while Lovett and Allegan’s Tonia Lamb joined Paw Paw’s Terry Patterson in a three-way tie for Coach of the Year.
And while still riding the emotional high of the Wolverine Conference title, Otsego won the Southwest Michigan High School Bowling Conference title the next day thanks to a 24-6 win over nemesis Paw Paw.
The Bulldogs also received conference awards for high team game of 982 and high team series of 1875 and high Baker game of 181.
Next up for Otsego and Allegan is regional competition at M-66 Bowl in Battle Creek beginning on Friday, Feb. 22.
“We are hoping to keep it rolling for regionals,” Lovett said.