Bearcats Capture Third-Straight League Title


W.F. West girls bowling nabbed its third-consecutive 2A Evergreen Conference championship after defeating rival powerhouse Black Hills, 2,179 total pins to 2,114, Tuesday night at Fairway lanes. 

“Every time we bowl Black Hills it is an absolute battle to the last frame, and tonight was no different.” W.F. West head coach Don Bunker. 

Both totals were the highest series for both teams all season. 

“We are both two of the top teams in the state and it was great to see both teams step up and put on a show in front of a very large crowd,” Bunker said. “It was an exciting night.”

In Game 1, the Bearcats set the tone by shooting an 884 to the Wolves’ 794. The Bearcats were led by junior Piper Chalmers’ 216 game and junior Clara Bunker’s 182 game. 

“These two girls have been clutch performers for us in big games and tournaments their entire careers at W.F. West,” Bunker said. “In three years, they have racked up three league championships, two district championships and a state Championship, and I have a feeling they are not done yet.” 

The Wolves were led by Zoey Theophilus’ 246 game, which was the high game of the night. 

“Zoey was on fire tonight,” Bunker said. “She is a powerful bowler and has had a great season. She really showed up for the Wolves in a big way tonight.” 

In Game 2, Black Hills head coach Nicole Pocklington pulled her team aside and gave the Wolves what looked like a pep talk, Bunker said. 

It must have worked because the Wolves came out firing on all cylinders. The Wolves defeated the Cats 983 to 946. 

“Black Hills has a two-headed monster in Zoey Theophilus and former individual state champion Hallie Stuart,” W.F. West assistant coach Rich Bunker said. “When Zoey and Hallie get hot, they are hard to beat.” 

The Bearcats, however, put together some big performances to keep it close and retain the lead heading into the always-crucial Baker games. Clara Bunker led the Cats with a 220, Piper Chalmers rolled another big 216 and first-year bowler Savannah Hawkins shot a 197. 

“Even though we came up a little short in Game 2, it really showcased our depth of talent on this team,” Rich Bunker said. “We have 10 to 12 bowlers that battle for varsity spots every week. They compete but at the same time celebrate each other’s successes. I really think this is what has set us apart from other teams the last four years.”

The match came down to the Baker Games as it always does between these two squads. The last time they met on Black Hills’ home turf, the Bearcats squeaked out a minuscule two-pin win to take the match. This time around, the Bearcats won 176 to 163 in Baker Game 1. In Game 2, it again came down to the last frame with the Wolves taking the Baker game 174 to 173. 

The Bearcats next travel to Triangle Lanes in Longview to defend their 2A District 4 championship, in what once again will be the toughest district in the state. Districts is set to start at 9 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 28.