The Hillsboro Indians bowling team was the runner-up in their third straight OHSAA State Bowling Tournament appearance recently, according to coach Shane Ison.
In the first round, 16 teams bowled three regular games and three Baker games. Only the top eight would advance to the Championship Finals. The boys started the day with games of 1004, 1035, and 897 in the first three regular games. In the three Baker games, the Indians went 192, 202, and 252 for a total of 3582.
The Indians were led by senior Sajoun Jones with 648, senior Tyler King with 626, senior Hunter Lowe 606, freshman Hayden Miller 570 and sophomore Brendon Ormes with two games totaling 328, as well as sophomore Christian McConehea 158.
The Hillsboro bowlers ended up as the number two seed going into the championship round.
During the break, the All-State Teams were announced. Sajoun Jones was named First Team All-State and Tyler King earned All-State Honorable Mention.
The championship rounds are composed of the best of five Baker matches. HHS went up against the seven-seeded Springfield Emanuel Christian. The Indians lost game one at 132-158.
After a regroup, the team went on to win the next three games at 197-157, 207-167, and 204-174.
Next up for the Indians was number-three seed Struthers High School.
“This was one of the best matches of the tournament if you ask me,” said coach Shane Ison. “Two power house teams refusing to lose.”
The Indians came out firing in game one, winning 224-191. Game two was a loss for the Indians at 208-228, tying things up at 1-1. The Indians won game three at 232-149, then took the victory in game four at 202-228, tying things up again at 2-2.
The fifth and final game would decide who would bowl for the state title. The Indians defeated Struthers 227-200 in the game, advancing to face number-four seed St. Mary High School.
“Let me tell you, our kids bowled well, but they hit a team that matched up with that pair of lanes and sometimes that happens in this sport,” Ison said.
The Indians gave what they had, but came up short, losing in the third game. The first game was close, 203-209, and St. Mary’s had to strike out from the eighth frame on to defeat Hillsboro in the final.
“What a whirlwind of emotions that was, knowing that we were that close to a state title and saying goodbye to three very special seniors,” Ison said. “One of the toughest parts about being the coach is the end of the season – but, man, what a season it was. The ride that these boys gave to their fans, parents and underclassmen teammates will never be forgotten. I couldn’t be more proud of this group of young men than I was at that moment, knowing that we were champions. The season may be over, but the memories of this very special day will last a lifetime. I could never thank these boys enough for letting me be a part of their journey and to say that we are the Division II state runner-up champions.”