April 26, 2021
By Lenny Vangilder
GONZALES – Four boys and four girls teams arrived at Premier Lanes Entertainment Center Monday with hopes of claiming a state bowling championship, with each bracket featuring three semifinalists from the Baton Rouge region and one from the New Orleans region.
When the dust had settled eight hours later, the two gold LHSAA trophies were headed east on I-10 back to the Crescent City.
Brother Martin’s boys won an unprecedented fifth title, while Archbishop Chapelle’s girls claimed their first crown, the third consecutive postseason that the New Orleans area has claimed a championship sweep.
After exacting revenge on top-seeded Catholic in the semifinals, the fifth-seeded Crusaders dominated Central 21½-5½ in the championship match to claim their fifth crown, all since 2015, becoming the first boys or girls bowling program to claim five titles since the LHSAA began sponsoring bowling in 2005.
“They had something to prove,” said Brother Martin coach Bruce Himbert. “We got beat by Catholic (on Feb. 8, Brother Martin’s first regular-season loss since 2013). These kids took it into their own hands after that match. They worked their butts off.”
Seniors Drew Gardner and Andre Hoyuela, who led the Crusaders through their early-round run to the semifinals last week, delivered again Monday.
In the title match, Gardner had a 662 series, including a 237 opening game, and Hoyuela a 661 set, including games of 243 and 236. The Crusaders had a 3,785 team series against Central, including 10 games above 220.
Earlier, Gardner, Hoyuela and Carson Colletti were huge in a 15-12 victory over Catholic. Gardner had games of 232-280-254 for a season-best 766 series, Colletti fired a 718 series and Hoyuela had a 688 as Brother Martin finished with a 3,873 series.
Hoyuela averaged 195 in just eight regular-season games while recovering from a finger injury, but averaged 220 in 14 games in the playoffs. “I felt really bad for him,” Himbert said, “but I promised him, you’ll be an integral part of this team winning.”
Brother Martin, which had a state-leading 1,181 team average in the regular season, had to defeat the other three teams with averages above 1,100 – Jesuit, Catholic and Central – en route to the title.
In the Crusaders’ last four playoff matches, they averaged 1,274 for 12 team games, including five games of more than 1,300.