Thorn reaches match play in individual finals

ALLEN PARK, Mich. — The range of emotions Alexander Thorn had to deal with Saturday was both far and wide. 

But the De La Salle Collegiate senior wouldn't trade it for the world.

Thorn, who along with fellow senior Salvatore Aiello competed at the state's Division 1 individual bowling finals, had a roller-coaster kind of day, as he qualified for match play before bowing out in the round of 16 at Thunderbowl Lanes in Allen Park.

Seeded 14th and facing the No. 3 seed Izaac Goergen of Midland in the first round, Thorn ran into a buzzsaw. Goergen rolled eight straight strikes to open Game 1, finishing with a 253 and taking a commanding 82-pin lead. Thorn gave it his best in Game 2, finishing with a 235. But it wasn't enough to close the gap, with Goergen winning the match, 445-406. 

Goergen would win his next three matches, defeating Dylan Kelley of Utica Eisenhower in the championship final.

Thorn opened up his qualifying block with a solid 199 but followed that up with subpar games of 176 and 122. This left him 117 pins out of the 16th qualifying position halfway through. 

"Our conversation was literally, 'You have three games left in our high school career. Don't give up. Let's have a strong finish. Throw one good shot, then another, then another and hopefully you'll have a couple of decent games,' " Pilots head coach Jay Lang said. 

Thorn listened to his coach. He proceeded to bowl a 227, followed by a superb 268 before wrapping up his six-game block with a 211 to give him a 1,205 total — good for the 14th seed.

"I wish we knew what place he was after three games, but to be honest we didn't bother to look because he was so far behind the top 16," Lang said. "This was the largest comeback I have personally witnessed and just a great story of never giving up even when faced with the longest of odds."

Aiello was solid throughout qualifying but didn't have a breakout game to carry him. He finished with a 1,168 block score, which was 22 pins out of the 16th position. He finished 23rd among the 60 competitors.

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