By Scott Keyes
Special for Second Half
STERLING HEIGHTS – Davison's Kailee Tubbs wanted to end her senior season on top.
That's exactly what she did Friday afternoon at Art Sterling Lanes in Sterling Heights, helping the Cardinals win their fourth MHSAA Division 1 girls bowling championship in seven seasons.
Tubbs was a member of three of the championship teams, but also part of Davison’s loss in the Final a year ago to Macomb Dakota.
That loss gave Tubbs and the Cardinals drive to get back to the Finals this season.
"I think you always think about that loss in the back of your mind, but I really think it was a building block to this season," Tubbs said after the Cardinals defeated Farmington Hills 1,206-1,139 in the championship match this time.
"To be a part of three of these championships, especially winning one during your senior season, is pretty special. What a great way to end your high school career."
Kailee's dad Robert Tubbs with the help of many coaches, assistants and educators has helped build the Davison boys program into a state power since taking over the Cardinals 12 years ago.
He was choked up after watching his daughter throw her final shot as a high school bowler. However watching Kailee end her season with an MHSAA title was just icing on the cake.
“Her freshman year at the state finals, after two frames the coach said, ‘Get in there,’ and she hasn’t left the lineup,” said Tubbs, who watched his daughter shoot 184 in the regular game portion of the final.
The Wisconsin Whitewater-bound bowler finished her career with four Regional titles, three MHSAA titles and a runner-up finish. Kalee Johnson shot 192 in the Final, Bailey Gipson shot 188, Taylor Davis 175 and Olivia Stephenson 116 rounded out Davison's scoring in the Final.
With Kailee Tubbs the lone senior on the Cardinals squad, don't be surprised if Davison isn't back a year from now seeking to add to the run.
"It really comes down to our feeder programs," said Robert Tubbs. "We do such a great job developing our younger bowlers, and when they get to the high school level they know what to expect."
Davis’ 275 during qualifying helped her team secure the top seed in match play with a total of 3,406, nearly 150 pins better than second-seeded Farmington (3,258).
Davison advanced to the semifinal by beating Zeeland, 1,254-1,134, while St. Clair Shores Lakeview eliminated Howell, 1,235-1,213. Harrison moved on to the semifinals with a 1,308-1,114 win over Sterling Heights Stevenson and then defeated Brownstown-Woodhaven 1,178-1,172 to advance to the championship match.
While Davison’s girls have been dominant, Wyandotte Roosevelt’s boys captured their first MHSAA title under first-year coach Charlie Cassise with a 1,342-1,211 victory over Macomb L’Anse Creuse North. The winners built a 411-305 lead in the Baker portion and were led by Cory Coffey’s 214 in the regular game.
"The kids came into today knowing what to expect. They had a game plan and executed it," Cassise said. "I've been around this sport 50 years, and I can honestly say nothing feels better than watching these kids win a state championship."
Brent Calhoun added a 191 in the Final for the champions, while Jacob Schultz had 183, Gabe Cassise 179 and Devin Challfour 164.
Jacob Mackowiak led L’Anse Creuse North with 204 and was followed by Kevin Rhoney with 199.
Grand Haven’s Logan Batka had one of the highlights for the day on the boys side, rolling a 289 during qualifying to lead his team to a score of 1,131 pins – which bumped the Buccaneers up to sixth heading into match play. They ended up reaching the quarterfinals.
PHOTOS: (Top) Davison’s girls bowling team. (Middle) Wyandotte Roosevelt’s boys bowling team. (Photos by Scott Keyes.)
Before she was big enough to properly hold a bowling ball, Hannah Reid was spending countless hours at the lanes.
At the former Town and Country Lanes, which was run by her grandmother, Reid would hold the ball with both hands near her chest, and toss it down the lane with all the might in her 3-year-old body. But it better have stayed out of the gutter.
“Never used bumpers,” said her father, Mike Reid. “She had to earn every pin.”
The Flushing senior has continued to earn every pin for the past 15 years, and this past season, it led to an unlikely run to the Division 1 Bowling Singles Final championship match. She finished runner-up, which just means there’s more pins to knock down and one more step to take.
“I have a lot more confidence, but it’s also scary,” she said, “because the only way I can get better is being the state champion. But I have to push for that.”
It’s a lot to ask of herself, but so was overcoming the odds to get to the title-deciding match a year ago.
Reid was bowling in her first Finals tournament and found herself outside the top 16 after the first four games of the qualifying block. She closed with a 207 and 217 in the final two games to sneak in as the 16th seed by two pins.
“I struggled in the first part of the game,” she said. “But once the lanes transitioned, I transitioned with them in a good way.”
Even then, Reid was facing long odds, facing No. 1 seed Melanie Straub of New Baltimore Anchor Bay in the first round. Straub had dominated qualifying, finishing 54 pins ahead of the second seed. But after the first game, Reid trailed by only six pins. She caught up and pulled away in the second to pull off a massive upset.
“I think she probably surprised herself more than anyone,” Flushing bowling coach Jeremy Jurvelin said. “Once she beat (Straub), it definitely became more on her radar that she could make a run for the Finals.”
Reid did just that, winning her next two matches before her Cinderella run came to a close in the championship match against Clarkston’s Katie Stephens.
“That was one heck of a run,” said Mike Reid, a volunteer coach for Flushing who handles the girls program. “It was awesome. It’s still a tear-jerker, especially with how close she came to being a state champion, which is huge. Hopefully, we can make that run again. But I don’t like that 16 seed. Top five would be great.”
Mike Reid has been there every step of the way in Hannah’s bowling journey, from those days when she was two-hand pushing a ball down the lane, to now, when she’s entered her senior season having already signed to bowl collegiately at Lawrence Tech and is bowling some of the best games of her life.
She bowled her high series – 734 – during a rec league match in late November. That came one day after her dad rolled a 733.
It wasn’t a direct victory over Dad, but it was a victory. And Dad was OK with it.
“It’s still kind of cool that she topped me by one pin the next day,” he said. “Maybe one day she’ll get to my 857. I can’t wait until she gets her first 300 game.”
Hannah very nearly did get that perfect game a year ago. She bowled a 287 on Jan. 8 in a tournament at Richfield Bowl in Flint. As she neared the end, all eyes started to turn toward her. Going through that, she said, was more nerve-racking than competing in the Division 1 Final.
Perhaps that helped as she recently won an Under-18 Michigan Junior Masters Association tournament in Westland. It took a comeback in her semifinal, which she wound up winning by one pin, to pull it off.
“It’s not over until it’s over,” she said, which may be cliche, but fitting of her record in the biggest bowling tournaments of her life.
Reid opened her high school season with 248 and 204 games to lead her team to a win against Goodrich.
This year’s Flushing team returns every bowler from a year ago and has a chance to qualify for the Team Final for the first time since 2020.
Having strong teammates to push her has only driven Reid more this season.
“During practice, we do different drills and competitions,” she said. “So winning those competitions sets you up for everything.”
Paul Costanzo served as a sportswriter at The Port Huron Times Herald from 2006-15, including three years as lead sportswriter, and prior to that as sports editor at the Hillsdale Daily News from 2005-06. He can be reached at [email protected] with story ideas for Genesee, Lapeer, St. Clair, Sanilac, Huron, Tuscola, Saginaw, Bay, Arenac, Midland and Gladwin counties.
PHOTOS (Top) Flushing’s Hannah Reid shows off her Division 1 Final runner-up medal last season with coach Jeremy Jurvelin, left, and father and coach Mike Reid. (Middle) By third grade, Hannah Reid already had fallen in love with bowling. (Photos courtesy of the Reid family.)