TAYLOR, Mich. — Having been that team that caught on fire and went on to win a regional in dominating fashion, the De La Salle Collegiate bowling team couldn't help but admire what U-D Jesuit was able to do Friday afternoon at Skore Lanes in Taylor.
The Cubs bowled consistently well early on in Baker-game play, then lit up the competition in the final regular game to take home the Division 1 regional title. Jesuit bowled a 1,040 in its final game, catapulting itself past both Woodhaven and Temperance Bedford. All three schools qualified for the state finals, which will be held at Thunderbowl Lanes in Allen Park on March 6-7.
Two-time defending regional champion De La Salle finished fifth overall, 52 pins behind fourth-place Lincoln Park. The Pilots finished with a total of 3,787, well shy of third-place Bedford (3,966).
"The first three games we were fine. We were in good shape," DLS head coach Jay Lang said. "But the last two Baker games and the first regular game we just didn't bowl well. The last two games we bowled pretty well but it was a little too late. When you're 120-130 pins behind, now you've got to play catch up and that's not a good thing."
De La Salle opened up Baker play with games of 179, 234, and 188. That placed them second behind Jesuit up to that point. But they finished with Baker games of 158, 139 and 164 to drop a few spots. Then the team shot an 826 in its first regular game to drop out of the top three.
"You've got to have a good day, show up and make spares," Lang said. "And sometimes when you get one strike, it becomes contagious. We just couldn't get that going today."
Having won the past two regional championships, Lang was quick to credit fellow Catholic League foe Jesuit for the way it came to bowl on Friday.
"Look at U-D. We had manhandled them every time we saw them this year," Lang said. "They weren't on my list to be top three, let alone win the region. But they had a really good day. They bowled well and had two tremendous games to go from third to first."
Edsel Ford, Troy, Monroe, Taylor, and Dearborn rounded out the top 10 teams.
Though his team saw its season come to an end, Lang said he could point to a lot of positive moments throughout the season.
"We had times where we bowled really well," he said. "We had some high finishes at some tournaments, finishing top four. We had a chance to go on to bowl for some titles but fell just a little short. I think that kind of summed up our season. We were close, but we couldn't seal the deal."
The team will return to Skore Lanes Saturday morning for the individual regional competition. Six Pilots will bowl six games, with the top 10 bowlers advancing on to the individual state finals next weekend. Team members include Salvatore Aiello, Luke Childs, Rafe Dewar, Jack Gohlke, Lorance Morrison, Andrew Rusu and Alexander Thorn.