Cavalier bowling knocks off defending champs

Jan. 19—The 2023-24 season finds the Southern Lee bowling program emerging as a force to be reckoned with, especially on the men's side, where the six juniors who make up the Cavalier team knocked off the defending state champions last week.

Southern has the unfortunate luck to be in the same conference with Scotland, a team that has its own bowling complex right there in Laurinburg, and which went all the way to the state championship a year ago. To get to the top of the league is as tough as it is in baseball, in that you have to rise to a very high level of play in order to get there.

The Cavaliers did just that in the Jan. 11 meet against the Fighting Scots and Pinecrest, held at Sandhills Bowling Center in Aberdeen. Southern's men played four matches against each team, winning two of the four against both and outscoring them on aggregate.

Against the Patriots, Southern won the first two matches 221-183 and 194-182, then tied at 154 before Pinecrest pulled out the last one by a 222-220 margin. However, the total pin count was decisively in the Cavaliers' favor, 789-741.

The Scotland match was a 2-2 split. The Scots won the first one 158-153, but then Southern edged them 178-170. A 203-195 win for the Cavaliers in the third contest was followed by a 215-213 Scotland win. However, as with the Patriots, Southern won on aggregate, 747-738. It was the second Southern win over the Scots this season, as they also downed them on Nov. 30.

The Southern men's team consists of Carter Hasley, Mark Lovick, Tucker Maria, Landon Lovick, Blaine Downing, and Markel Brown.

Southern led both teams in the overall standings and is first in the conference going into Thursday's match in Laurinburg against the other schools that bowl in the SAC, Richmond and Hoke. Bowling is not an NCHSAA-sanctioned high school sport, but teams tend to organize themselves using the NCHSAA conference alignments and have their own sanctioning body that holds a state championship.

In the women's match, where Pinecrest is the strongest of the teams, the Lady Cavaliers lost all four to the Patriots but split 2-2 with the Scots.

In the match with Scotland, Southern lost the opener 135-93, but then won 96-78 and lost 99-76. Southern won the nightcap 168-126 but was five points short on aggregate, 438-433.

The Lady Cavs improved their point count to 438 against Pinecrest, but the Patriots were too strong, prevailing 168-127, 142-80, 151-128 and 172-103.

The Lady Cavaliers' team consists of Kaileigh Starks, Alicia Garcia, Emen Fawcett, Triniti Taylor, Tatianah Jones, Peyton Johnson and Alexus Byrd. The team has made steady progress this season and earned its first overall meet victory in a match on Nov. 30, when the Lady Cavaliers beat Scotland.

Longtime Cavalier tennis coach Vickie Wilkins directs the Southern bowling programs.