Getting hot at the right time can be critical when pursuing a championship of any kind. No one made that point better recently than the boys’ bowling team from South View High School.
The Tigers were a less than impressive third in the regular season race in the Patriot Athletic Conference.
But postseason was a different story. The South View boys rolled their way to victory in the conference tournament and continued their hot streak Feb. 15 at the Lumberton Bowling Center, capturing the state bowling championship.
The Tiger hot streak got started in the finals of the conference tournament against Pine Forest. South View bowled three games in the last round and had scores of 175, 200 and 200.
That earned South View a trip to the state tournament, but the team still had to dodge a near debacle to have a shot at the championship.
The format in the state tournament was to bowl four games as a team against the entire field. After that, the four teams with the highest pin count advanced to the next round.
“We made the top four by three pins,’’ South View coach Mike Maddox said.
As the fourth seed in the field, South View had to face top-seeded and home team Lumberton in the next round. “We kind of limped in and got hot,’’ Maddox said. The Tigers beat Lumberton and advanced to the finals against Pinecrest, where South View got the win and the championship. They beat the Patriots in the finals 161-154.
Maddox gives much of the credit for South View’s success this year to senior Hunter Hicks. Hicks has been the Tiger captain and anchor bowler for the last two years and a team member for four years.
In team bowling, five players roll two frames each per match. The anchor bowler bowls the fifth and 10th frames. The 10th frame is crucial because if that bowler can strike or spare, he gets an extra ball to add to the team score.
“You want your best bowler, and he certainly fits that bill,’’ Maddox said. “We’ve been riding that horse a couple of years now.’’
Hicks began bowling with family more than a dozen years ago. “It’s something you can always improve on,’’ he said of bowling, “little adjustments to improve the game.’’
Hicks said he and some of his teammates went to Lumberton prior to the state championship to get a feel for the lanes there.
He bowled in the individual competition in the state championship match but struggled near the end and didn’t finish among the leaders. But he didn’t allow that to affect his performance in the team round.
“My mind went straight to the team,’’ he said. “I thought we had a good chance of winning it.’’
Hicks said he couldn’t ask for a better way to complete his final season with the team than them bringing home the state title.
He plans to attend the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and become a social worker. Pembroke doesn’t have a bowling team, but Hicks hopes to change that. “I plan to get hold of the United States Bowling Congress and look at starting a team at Pembroke,’’ he said.
Photo: L-R: Coach Mike Maddox, Josh Packer, Nick Riley, Nick Roberson, Hunter Hicks, Connor Schneider, Joshua Hicks, Jordan Hicks, Isaac Palakawongse, Shaakir Williams, Jaycee Wynne