A year ago, Hilton Head Prep's new bowling team was the runner-up to SCISAA state champion Heathwood Hall. A year later, the Dolphins have overtaken the Highlanders.
Hilton Head Prep defeated Heathwood Hall, 495-455, on Thursday at Royal Z Lanes in Columbia to win the SCISAA boys state bowling championship.
The team consisted of seniors John Sheehan, Greg Warren, Brayden Mitchell, Angelo Carrabba, and anchor James Leonard.
The Dolphins, 2-2 coming into the state meet, were seeded first after winning the qualifying round. There were 11 teams in the boys division and they bowled three games before the field was cut to the top four teams, which bowled another three games.
According to head coach Bryan VanGronigen, the Dolphins had increased their practice schedule after hitting a rough patch during the season. The team was focused on finding their shots on heavy oil conditions and making corner spares.
"n the end, we were able to string some strikes together and convert some key spares, which lessened our number of open frames and gave us a comfortable margin of victory," VanGronigen said.
Even so, the Dolphins were down five pins heading into the final game of the championship round. But Carrabba and Leonard had three critical strikes in the ninth and 10th frames to lock up the win.
"I'm so very, very proud of the boys and all their hard work these past two years," VanGronigen said. "They created the program with me, and what a tremendous way to cap their efforts and senior year."
Prep's co-ed team, consisting of Carrabba, Jack Dextraze, Kiara Parker, Sam Warren and Maggie Sulek, won their final two matches of the season in their division on Thursday, as well.
Hilton Head Island clinches Region 8-AAA championship: The Seahawks downed Stall 55-17 and Berkeley 51-22 to complete region competition with a 5-0 mark and the 8-AAA crown.
The title is Hilton Head Island's first since 2011, its fifth in nine years.
Logan Johnston (106 pounds), Matt Roberts (113), Matt Levy (126), Brock Massey (145), D.T. Smith (152), Martin Duane (182), Trevor Pascoe (195) and Jeff Wilson (220) were 2-0 for the Seahawks (10-12).
Hilton Head Island hosts a one-day tournament on Saturday, starting at 1 p.m. The Seahawks face Bluffton on Wednesday and then host the first two rounds of the playoffs Feb. 8.
Hilton Head Christian Academy 51, Thomas Heyward Academy 28: Ziaira Doe scored 26 and Andy Anderson added 15 to lead the Eagles past the Rebels at HHCA.
"Doe and Anderson played a great game and took the game over," Eagles coach Kenny Conroy said.
Ellie Bryan led the Rebels with eight points. Allison Bendlen added seven.
HHCA (11-1) plays at Northwood Academy on Friday, and Saturday at First Baptist. Thomas Heyward (6-9) hosts Bible Baptist on Tuesday.
Hilton Head Christian Academy 49, Thomas Heyward Academy 41: The Rebels fought back from a 30-8 halftime deficit, but the Eagles held on for the win.
Brad Meccariello led Hilton Head Christian (6-6) with 13 points, while Ryan Barrett added 10.
Dylan Tillotson led the Rebels with 19 points.
Hilton Head Christian plays Friday night at Northwood Academy.