Over the break the team competed in three high caliber tournaments including the Rockford Boylan Invitational, the North vs. South Holiday Classic in Rockford, and they capped the holiday competition by hosting the Panther Team Challenge tournament at St. Clair Bowl.
O’Fallon kicked their tournament stretch off with second place finish in the Boylan Invitational. The team remained near the top pack of the competition throughout the day but were edged out by Harlem in the step ladder finals. Before losing to Harlem, the boys defeated Belleville East, Oregon, and their toughest conference competitors, Collinsville. The Panthers finished only 37 pins behind Harlem in the finals.
“It was a good showing by the boys,” said head coach Mike Imes. “No super high games, just consistent bowling and spare-shooting.”
On the following day, the team competed in the North vs South Holiday Classic held at B&B Park Bowl in Rockford, Illinois. O’Fallon continued their momentum from the day before and led by juniors Josh Bradshaw and Andrew Orf, finished the day on the top of the standings. OTHS finished ahead of second place Auburn 6364-5935.
Bradshaw bowled a 300 and had a tournament high series of 1,390, while Orf supported with a 1,380 series. Also scoring well for the Panthers were Bradley Solomon with a 1299 series and Justin Hess with a 1262 series. Bradshaw (1), Orf (2), Solomon (4), and Hess (6) all finished within the top six individual scores of the day.
The Panthers winning performance also helped the South team defeat the North 22887-22216.
After their road trip, the Panthers returned to St. Clair Bowl to host the Panther Team Challenge last weekend. Forty-four teams competed in the challenge, including many of the state’s toughest competitors.
The boys got off to a great start and earned a second place seed after the opening three preliminary games on Saturday morning. After four rounds of step ladder play, the team finished the large tournament in third place. O’Fallon was defeated by Harlem for the second time over the holiday stretch. Harlem edged out the Panthers by a close score of 403-374 in the semifinal round of the bracket finals. The Panthers defeated Columbia 396-363 in the first round of step-ladder play.
“It was an unlucky draw to get Harlem in the step ladder but you have to beat everybody,” said Imes. “Harlem and Hononegah are both two teams that anybody going to state will have to deal with. We’ve been battling and hanging with them so we aren’t too discouraged with where we have been finishing. The guys know what they have to do to get through the rest of the season.”
On Thursday the Panthers will face off against the Collinsville Kahoks. So far this season O’Fallon is only team to defeat Collinsville in conference play and an OTHS win over the Kahoks will give the Panthers a very solid chance to finish on top of the SWC table.