By Dick Atkinson
For the Killeen Daily Herald
SAN ANTONIO - In a battle of Lady Eagles, No. 2 seed Ellison edged top-seeded Allen to win the Texas High School Bowling Club girls team championship on Saturday at Bandera Super Bowl.
In the first game of the finals, the two heavyweights traded punches before Allen pulled away late to win 153-180. Ellison trailed in the second game before coming back to eke out a 173-171 victory, setting the stage for the winner-take-all final game.
Allen jumped out to an early 20-pin lead after two frames and appeared headed to its fourth title. But Ellison would not be denied, putting together a string of strikes and spares to narrow the gap. Ellison finally took the lead in the seventh frame after an Allen open frame.
Cindy Gill and Devin Revels then spared in the eighth and ninth frames before Ellison anchor Brittany Evans spared and struck to shut out Allen and capture EHS' first state bowling title with a 164-138 victory.
On Sunday, Gill capped a dream weekend by also winning the girls singles .
Gill shot a 599 series in the qualifying round to earn a No. 10 seed for the match-play round of 16. In that round, she topped No. 77 Jeanette Van Gundy of San Antonio Madison 205-152, 212-190 before upsetting No. 3, 3 Kiara Grant of Austin NYOS 232-210, 225-214 in the quarterfinals.
In the semifinals, Gill won a thriller over 2008 champion Danielle Walker of Keller Central 180-176 to reach the final against top-seed Jessica Cantu of San Antonio Brandeis.
The championship match was close throughout as neither Gill nor Cantu had an open frame. Gill struck in the third, fourth and fifth frames to open a 27-pin lead, but Cantu doubled in the eighth to cut the lead to 12.
Cantu struck and spared in the 10th to finish with 201, forcing Gill to make either a strike or spare to win. Gill left a solid 10 pin in the 10th, but picked it up and threw a 9-count to finish with 211 and a 10-pin victory.
Gill and Revels led Ellison to the 2 seed Saturday by averaging 222 and 204, respectively, in the three-game qualifying round. In the best-2-of- 3 match-play bracket, Ellison topped the 15-seed Plano East 192-147, 177-187, 162-134 before taking out No. 10 Texas City 163-152, 188-131 in the quarterfinals.
In the semifinals, Ellison was matched against 2008 champion San Antonio Madison. In one of the most exciting matches in club bowling history, Ellison fell to the Lady Mavericks 147-182 in the first game, then came back to tie the second game at 148, sending it into overtime, where Ellison won the one-ball roll-off 8-7 to send the match into the deciding third game.
Ellison fell behind early in the final game, then clawed back to take the lead heading into the 10th frame. But Madison was not done. The Lady Mavericks anchor bowler struck twice and needed an 8-count to tie and nine to win, but came up a pin short with a 7-count sending Ellison into the championship match against three-time and defending champion Allen with the 186-185 victory.
Allen made it to the final by edging 16-seed Saginaw Boswell 136-118, 116-117, 199-144 in the round of 16, then barely escaped No. 8 seed Shoemaker 147-152, 160-150, 176-164 in the quarterfinals. They then dispatched No. 4 Spring 214-152, 192-151 to reach the final.
Ellison team members, all seniors, are Amanda Taylor, Jerica Horn, Gill, Evans, Revels and Victoria Thurston. The Lady Eagles are coached by Karin Ciesiolka.
Also Saturday, Jacob Hollis of Keller Fossil Ridge won the boys singles title, defeating freshman Evan Money of Cy-Fair
Copperas Cove's Louis Barragan lost to Money in the quarterfinals.