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Anne Photograp News 2024

Denham Springs captures state title
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Denham Springs captures state title

By Chris Kinkaid The Livingston Parish News

“I couldn’t be more proud of this team,” Denham Springs coach William Eunice said. “It took a lot of time and effort for these guys to put us back on the map.”

Denham Springs captured the Division I state title with a 16-11 win over Brother Martin.

“From the second round onwards, every match we were in was very close and came down to the last match,” Eunice said. “In the semifinals we knew we were going into it with a team that had nothing to do with a 16-seed team. They faced the other two semi-final teams this season and their WL record was not representative of their skills. Additionally, we faced them at the Louisiana High School Invitational and they showed their depth at that event.”

Eunice said in terms of what it means, it’s great for Denham Springs.

“Only two schools in the state have six bowling championships. Brother Martin (all boys) and Denham Springs (one boy, five girls),” Eunice said. :For the boys, this was our first return to the state title game since 2007. Denham Springs is the first team to win a state title from the Baton Rouge region since Catholic defeated us in our last title appearance in 2007. We are only the second public school to to win a title in high school bowling on the boys’ side — a sport dominated by Catholic schools — Barbe had three (2008, 2010, 2011) — Look, our whole goal here is to get our students in the Denham Springs community something they can be a part of and compete at a high level. The lessons you learn in sports and extracurricular activities have so many applications in life. I know this group of seniors will go on to do great things because they have invested in the growth process necessary to compete at the top in this state. They have shown tremendous leadership as a group and they have definitely left this program better than when they came here.”

Grant Pendergraft of Denham Springs won the Most Valuable Player award.

“It’s an honor,” Pendergraft said. “I was able to string a lot of shots together and that helped with our pin total that ultimately led us to the win.”

Pendergraft posted a 635 run, which is one pin short of an average of 212 and had a game high of 255 in the final.

“I just had the right equipment in my hand,” Pendergraft said. “I took quality shots all season and didn’t see great results, but during the playoffs I had new equipment that really worked for me.”

Pendergraft said winning state was exciting.

“We’ve put in so much work all season and it was good to finally see that work paying off,” Pendergraft said. “It feels great to be part of the team that brought back the first boys bowling state championship.”

Denham Springs won just one game in the finals opener, and that was John Ekey with a 219-184 win. Denham Springs was on top in that game 1,251-1,120.

But the Yellow Jackets came back.

Noah Fontenot, Pendergraft, Cooper Bush and Brady Null earned victories in the second game with scores of 200-178, 255-157, 212-175 and 238-235 respectively. The team won 1,253-1,147.

In the final match, Fontenot, Pendergraft, Ekey and Tyler Davis all won their matches, 179-174, 202-170, 202-177 and 188-182. The Yellow Jackets won the game 1,169-1,121 and the series 3,542-3,519.

Also locally on the boys side, No. 11 Albany reached the Division II semifinals but was defeated 26-1 by second-seeded and runner-up state champion South Terrebonne.

The Albany girls, who were the third-seeded team, made it to the semifinals but were defeated by second-seeded and state champion Dutchtown 23-4.