ELLISVILLE – After battling all day at the Jones College Bobcat Math League playoff competition, the first-seeded Oak Grove Warrior team won the 2018 Championship title for the second time in recent history. It literally came down to the last question in the final round of 30-questions with the second-seeded team, the Presbyterian Christian Bobcats.
“I’m super proud of this team because they worked hard and fought to the end,” said Oak Grove Math Coach, Whitney Necessary. “We lost a lot of seniors so we weren’t sure how we’d do in the playoffs.”
It looked like there would be some upsets in the Championship round when the sixth-seeded team, West Jones knocked off the third-seeded Sacred Heart team in the first round and the fifth-seeded Northeast Jones team blanked the fourth-seeded Wayne County team. In close matches, Oak Grove held off West Jones, 26 to 19 and Presbyterian Christian fended off the Tigers of Northeast Jones, 24 to 19. Sacred Heart finished off the Mustangs of West Jones in the following round, 29 to 17 and Northeast Jones fell to Wayne County, 10-5.
Oak Grove would have to battle against the Wayne County War Eagles twice before getting to the Championship round of the double-elimination competition. Losing in the first round of the semifinals, Oak Grove was uncertain about their fate. Wayne County came out blazing earning 26 points, keeping Oak Grove scoreless and desperate to win. The Warriors tried to regroup during the third-seeded Sacred Heart match against the undefeated Presbyterian Christian team in the semi-final round.
“It was a little intimidating at first but we got in our groove and managed to win,” said Presbyterian Christian freshman, Sam Powell.
It looked bleak for Oak Grove as they saw Wayne County quickly scoring again in the last attempt for both teams to earn a spot in the Championship round. Wayne County’s Luke Bowles earned the first five points against Oak Grove, with Nicholas Cooksey and Dakota Brewer assisting to put the Warriors up 15 points. Oak Grove sophomore, Ethan Choi answered correctly on the fourth question, helping his sister and senior, Erin Choi to earn two bonus points. The score remained 15 to 7 until Warriors’ sophomore Tegus Kotikalapudi earned five points on a math question to bring the Oak Grove score to 12. Wayne County’s Brewer tried to take control earning five more points but Oak Grove’s Ria Patel answered with five-points and the Choi siblings added seven more points on the next question ending the match with Oak Grove ahead, 24 to 20. The War Eagles ended the series in fourth place overall.
In the first match-up between the two Hattiesburg area schools, it appeared Presbyterian Christian had the edge coming into the final round as the only undefeated team in the playoffs. PCS quickly scored 12 points by the ninth round of questions with the Warriors scoreless. However, Oak Grove’s Ethan Choi and Kotikalapudi managed to disrupt the 12 point lead the Bobcats had on the Warriors in the first half of the final match by scoring the team’s first, 7 points. The momentum continued with the two gaining 10 more points. In the second half of the final “Super Bowl” round between the Warriors and the Bobcats, Kotikalapudi and Choi were hot on the buzzer with the correct answers in the math and science categories and racked up 22 points and kept PCS from scoring again until late in the half. Presbyterian Christian’s Matthew Morgan managed to get the next science question correct giving Carson Dorsey and Jackson Polk the opportunity to earn two-points each by correctly answering the bonus questions. The Bobcats earned 21 points and were ready to close the gap when Kotikalapudi took control two questions later. Ethan Choi answered the bonus question correctly surging the Warriors’ score to 29. Then, answering the next technology question, PCS freshman, Sam Powell scored 5-points correctly giving the Bobcats 26 points. It appeared PCS was going to win the match when Dorsey earned 5 points allowing Polk to score a two-point bonus. On the 28th question, the score was in favor of PCS, 33 to 29. The two teams failed to answer the following question leaving it all to be decided by the final question about engineering. Kotikalapudi buzzed in first and correctly answered, ending the match with the Oak Grove Warriors winning by one-point, 34 to 33.
“I’d like to thank Percy Jackson!” exclaimed Kotikalapudi. “I read the books and watched the movie about Percy Jackson and I remembered the part about Archimedes screw in Greek mythology and that’s how I knew the answer to the last engineering related question. Also, I’d like to thank my fifth-grade Accelerated Reading class because I read a lot of books which helped me today.”
The Oak Grove Warriors captured the title, 2018 JC Bobcat Math League Champions for the second time with the team coming in second place last year and first place in 2016. Oak Grove High School, their coach, and the team earned a total of $3,250 this year, as well as trophies, plaques, medallions and scholarships to Jones for the senior team members. Presbyterian Christian’s last appearance in the finals happened in 2014 and 2013 when they took the title both years. The second place school, coach and team earned a total of $2,725 this year, as well as trophies, plaques, medallions and scholarships to Jones for the senior team members. In 2012, the Bobcats were runner-ups so perhaps this could be the beginning of another series of wins for Presbyterian Christian. Sacred Heart ended the day in third place taking home $2,000. The fourth place Wayne County team and its coach earned $1,525.
Sacred Heart’s Ben Dunn earned a laptop from Howard’s Computer as the overall individual with the highest average accuracy rate during the regular season and the title, the Most Outstanding Player. He is also a member of the All-League team, which recognizes the top scoring individuals during the regular season. Other All-League team members include Erin Choi-Oak Grove, Nicholas Cooksey and Joshua Curry from Wayne County, Maxwell Dobbs-Laurel High School, Grayson Nocera-Presbyterian Christian, Remy Poirrier-Sacred Heart and Sam Powell-Presbyterian Christian.
The Most Outstanding Players from each of the thirteen participating schools were: Columbia Academy, Warren Parker; Heidelberg HS, Jamicgra Morgan; Laurel HS, Maxwell Dobbs; Northeast Jones HS, Lexi Berlin; Oak Grove, Erin Choi; Perry Central, Shanna Stewart; Presbyterian Christian HS, Grayson Nocera; Quitman HS, Logan Kelly; Raleigh HS, Trace Bowen; Sacred Heart, Ben Dunn; Wayne Academy, Hannah Burke & Ryan Miller; Wayne County HS, Nicholas Cooksey & Joshua Curry, and West Jones HS, Eva Kiparizoska.
Sponsors of the Bobcat Math League at Jones College include the Chisholm Foundation, Corner Market, Jones County EDA, Wayne County Economic Development District and Howard Computers.
Results are posted on the JC Bobcat Math League web page under “Division Standings/Schedules at: http://www.jcjc.edu/bobcatmathleague/ and the Facebook page: Bobcat Math League - Facebook as well as local media outlets. For more information about the Bobcat Math League contact Dr. Jessica Bunch (JC Bobcat Math League Commissioner) at 601-477-5422 or email at email@example.com.