JACKSON • The Lafayette boys bowling team saved its best for last, bowling 256 in the decisive game of the Baker Roll-Off to defeat Long Beach 3-2 for the MHSAA Class II state championship on Wednesday.
But there would not have been a fifth game and a second-straight state title for the Commodores if Jakob Robertson had not converted a 4-10 split in the 10th frame of the third game, as he slid the 4 over to take down the 10.
Robertson, a freshman, said he was confident that he could pick up the split: “I’ve made it before. I knew I could make it then.”
Lafayette coach Kelle Sumrall added, “I knew he could do it, too. I’ve seen him make it.”
The conversion enabled Lafayette to edge Long Beach 170-163 in the third game. The Commodores also won the first game 194-186 and the final game 256-158. Long Beach won the second game 189-178 and the fourth game 182-151.
Under the Baker Roll-Off, five bowlers from the top two teams in preliminary bowling alternate frames.
Lafayette finished up with its best game after having its worst game.
“My guys are really resilient. They don’t let things get them down for too long,” Sumrall said.
All or nothing
The first game was something of a feast or famine for the Commodores, with seven strikes – two each by Nick Cohen, Levi Freeman and D.C. Bumgardner – but also three open frames.
Lafayette twice put together four-straight strikes in the final game by Freeman, Bumgardner, Matthew Atkinson and Robertson.
Lafayette was second out of eight teams in preliminary bowling with games of 991-825-868 for a team score of 2,684, an average of 179 per bowler per game. A 1,009 team score in the final game enabled Long Beach to finish first in the preliminary competition with 2,788. Corinth was fourth with 2,551 and Pontotoc seventh with 2,203.
Bumgardner and Robertson made the all-state team by finishing third and fourth, respectively, in preliminary bowling. Bumgardner had a 630 series and Robertson a 627.
Lafayette has won four roll-offs in the past two years – two in the North region and two in the state championships. The Commodores finished second behind Cleveland Central in this year’s North region, but won the roll off 3-2.
Neshoba Central won the girls championship, defeating Cleveland Central 3-1, with a 232 team score in the final game. Pontotoc was sixth (1,853) and Itawamba AHS eighth (1,588).
Class II is 4A and 5A schools. The Class III tournament for 6A schools will be held Thursday at the Metro 24 Bowling Center in Jackson. Oxford girl qualified as North champion with a 3-1 victory over DeSoto Central.
Class I (1A, 2A and 3A) will be Friday. Northeast Mississippi schools that qualified are Kossuth, Myrtle, East Union, Mantachie, and Alcorn Central for boys and girls, as well as Tremont boys and West Union girls.