How many strings on a harp?
Quick thinking gives team second-place state title
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
The Scholars Bowl Team at Hartselle Junior High School pulled off a dramatic comeback over Cullman and claimed a tiebreaker win over Oak Mountain in the final round playoff bracket of the 2006 State Middle School Tournament in Montgomery on Saturday.
They went on to capture the second place trophy and a $500 cash award.
The competition, which is sponsored annually by the Alabama Scholastic Competition, featured six-member scholastic teams from 28 schools. Representing HJHS were eighth graders Chase Hall, Scott Dukes, Allie Shelton, Bonnie Pike, Dalton Anderton and Matt Walker.
No other Hartselle Junior High team had made it to the final round and only four of 14 teams had reached the final eight playoff bracket, according to co-sponsors Wanda McAbee and Jodi Fuqua.
Hartselle compiled a 5-1 record in pool play by defeating Woodland High School, Handley Middle School, Rainbow Middle School, Phillips Preparatory School and Scottsboro Junior High School. The loss was to Bumpus Middle School of Hoover, the same team that knocked Hartselle out of the state championship.
Seventh seeded Hartselle, faced second seeded Cullman in the first round of the playoff bracket. After falling behind in the first two periods, they roared back in the third and final period and grabbed a win. In the semifinal round, they were tied with Oak Mountain until Dukes came up with the answer that broke the tie. The Oak Mountain team didn't know the answer to the question "How many strings does a harp have? Dukes knew the answer was 47. He said he ran across the question and answer while doing some last minute cramming on the ride to Montgomery."
Bumpus got by Hillcrest and Whitesburg to reach the final with an unbeaten record.
"We beat teams from schools larger that ours and teams we'd lost to earlier," said Hall. "We put Hartselle on the map."
"The competition was heated. Everyone was nervous. We all said prayers that we'd know the right answers," Dukes said.
"I was hoping we'd get past lunch and make the final eight. Only four teams ahead of us were able to do that. I wanted us to do better so people would be proud of us," added Allie Shelton.
"I was very proud to get into the championship finale. It gives us bragging rights. Now I'll be able to brag to my brother who was on a scholars bowl team before me," Matt Walker pointed out.
"A lot of study and practice and pulling together as a team contributed a lot to the teams success," according to Pike.
"I couldn't be more proud of them," said McAbee. "They were committed to excellence and were very encouraging and supportive of one another. "It was all about meeting personal goals and working together as a team."