By Steve Williams
Lady Hornets are state bound!
After capturing their first-ever region crown, the Carter girls’ bowling team made more history Saturday by earning a berth in this week’s TSSAA state tournament at Smyrna.
The Lady Hornets rallied to defeat Kingsport Dobyns-Bennett 15-8 in the Sectional round at Fountain Lanes.
The total pin fall tells how close the match was, as Carter knocked down 1,437 pins to D-B’s 1,434.
Hallie Lane provided the spark.
The Carter High junior rolled a school record 204 in the opening game of the semifinals and the Lady Hornets went on to claim their first-ever Region 2 bowling championship Thursday at the Strike & Spare lanes on Western Avenue.
Carter walloped Sevier County 19-4 in the semis and held off Gatlinburg-Pittman 13-10 in the finals.
Just in its third year in the sport, Carter also has two district crowns to go with the region title.
The Lady Hornets were scheduled to host Kingsport Dobyns-Bennett in the Sectionals Saturday at Fountain Lanes, with a state tournament berth on the line.
“I’m very proud of our team,” said Carter Coach Raymond Wynn. “Their hard work, dedication and eagerness make them a fun group to be around. Last year we were happy to advance to the region tournament. We had a lot of players returning and they set the goals of winning the district and region and making our first state tournament.
“Dobyns-Bennett comes here as a traditional bowling power, and it will take a good match to beat them.”
Lane said “it was exciting to beat the old record” of 201 held by Carter grad Ava Brooks.
“The key to the win was for us to have a good attitude and not get under too much pressure. We had some pressure, but we shook it off.”
The Lady Hornets took an 8-0 lead over Gatlinburg-Pittman and built up a big advantage in total pin fall by winning all six head-to-head individual matches in the first game, which consisted of the traditional American 10-pin game.
The Lady Highlanders won four of the five Baker contests and made a strong run at Carter with a 146-104 win in the final game, but couldn’t overcome the 90-pin deficit in total pin fall.
Other members of the Carter team are Kayla Rucker, Annie Crigger, Maddie Lewis, Loren Chamberlain, Gracie Miller, Kelsea McGlothin, Belle Gibson, Aaliyah Gentry-Foye and Phoebe Sabol.
G-P advanced to the finals by eliminating Bearden 21-2. The Lady Highlanders were scheduled to face Region 1 champion Cherokee in the sectional round Saturday at Rogersville.
In the Region 1 girls finals last week at Johnson City, Cherokee defeated Dobyns-Bennett 16-7.