The Walker Valley boys' bowling team finished its season at 27-2 with an 18-9 loss to Columbia Central in the Division I championship match of the TSSAA state tournament Saturday in Smyrna, Tenn.
It was the best finish ever for the Mustangs, who reached the semifinals last year, and the Lady Mustangs wound up 23-1 with their loss coming Friday in the state quarterfinals against Wilson Central. The Walker Valley teams had won the all-District 5 finals of the Region 3 tournament against the McMinn County boys and Rhea County girls and then beat Smyrna's boys and Siegel's girls in sectionals held in Cleveland.
Saturday in the state final, the Mustangs won the first game by three points and trailed by one after two games, but Columbia Central outscored them 6.5 to 1.5 -- and 1,107 pins to 1,002 -- in the deciding game.
"It was really a closer match than the score shows," Walker Valley coach Dean Anderson said. "They got some breaks on pin falls, and we didn't get breaks, and they made more spares than we did. But we gave them a scare."
The Mustangs featured balanced scoring in their quarterfinal and semifinal wins Friday, a 191 by Caleb Zanoska being their highest individual game. Zanoska rolled a 242, the highest of the match, in the first game of Saturday's final. Austin Harrington started with a 212 and a 224 for Columbia.
"Caleb really stepped up in that first game," Anderson said. "Overall, nobody was shooting really big except Columbia Central. The oil pattern was a really tough sport shot. That evened the playing field for everybody."
Tanner Kincaid rolled a 198 in game two and Nathan Kirby had a 190 in game three for Walker Valley.
Division I boys' state final
Saturday at Smyrna, Tenn.
COLUMBIA CENTRAL 18, WALKER VALLEY 9
Game 1: Walker Valley, 5.5-2.5
Highlights: WV -- Caleb Zanoska 242, Britton Helton 185, Dakota Dawson 163, Tanner Kincaid 153, Nathan Kirby 147. CC -- Austin Harrington 213, Jonathan Colbaugh 203, Cole Flatt 181, Jacob Keyser 154, Jacob Bushey 153.
Game 2: Columbia Central, 6-2
Highlights: CC -- Harrington 224, Matthew Bushey 193, Flatt 190, Ashton Rubio 168, J. Bushey 164, Colbaugh 157. WV -- Kincaid 198, Dylan Dawson 161, Da. Dawson 161, Zanoska 159, Kirby 150, Helton 149.
Game 3: Columbia Central, 6.5-1.5
Highlights: CC -- Flatt 202, M. Bushey 199, Colbaugh 193, Keyser 175, J. Bushey 170, Harrington 168. WV -- Kirby 190, Dy. Dawson 168, Zanoska 168, Helton 164, Kincaid 160, Da. Dawson 152.
Total pins (3 pts.): Columbia, 3,221-3,009