Peaking at just the right time, the O’Fallon High girls’ bowling team ran the table against a field of 13 teams to win the IHSA regional tournament last Saturday.
The Panthers took the Columbia regional title by 53 pins Belleville East’s second place, a triumph deserving of accolades from their coach, Garrett Spencer.
“Overall, we have a very young team that passed a trial by fire in the regional,” Spencer said. “Over the final two weeks of the regular season, our girls have been working to improve their consistency, and that hard work paid off when we were challenged in the final games by both Belleville East and Waterloo. It was an impressive win for our team, one that will give us some momentum as we head into the sectional tournament this weekend in Johnston City.”
Good averages won’t necessarily win tournaments. Most championship efforts need a dominating performance to put winning teams over the proverbial hump.
The OTHS girls got that inspiring effort from senior Madison Kasza. The third sister in a trio of top-notch bowlers who have helped maintain O’Fallon’s girls’ program as one of the most consistently successful in the area in recent years, Kasza was at the top of her game on Saturday.
The O’Fallon senior blasted her way to the tournament individual championship, averaging 236.3 over six games with a top game of 266. At the end of the day, the OTHS standout finished with the top tournament total of 1418 — six pins better that Dupo’s Courtney Argus.
“We needed someone to anchor our bid for the regional title bid, and Madison filled the bill for us,” Spencer said. “Her two older sisters filled the same role for us when they attended OTHS, and this year it was her turn to shine — and she certainly did.”
O’Fallon’s run to the regional title was not a one player effort, however. Senior teammate Lanie Goldberg finished well above the 1,000-pin plateau at 1214.
The Panthers’ formidable freshmen tandem of Maddi Thornton and Hayleigh Williams did their part to secure the title.
Thornton fired a 937 and Williams scored a 919. The other O’Fallon girls figuring in the scoring were sophomore Nikki Hebel (741) and freshman Lauren Tomaszewski (736).
The Lady Panthers will now set their sights on the Johnston City sectional tournament which will be held this Saturday.