The Bearkats finished the first half of the season the same way they started it, with a tournament victory. The Kats rolled through Sunday’s bracket play unbeaten to take the title at the UMES Hawk Classic.

“Today the team fought hard and never gave up,” said head coach Brad Hagen. “We stopped talking about what we were going to do and executed.”

The Kats opened the day with a five-game win over the host school Maryland Eastern Shore. The Bearkats won the opening two games of the match and then closed it out in the fifth with a 209-177 score.

In the semifinals against Vanderbilt, Sam Houston put up a 247 in the opening game and never looked back, rolling to a four-game sweep to get to the finals.

In the championship, Sacred Heart, who entered as the No. 1 seed took the opening two games. The Kats bounced back taking the next two to even the match, including a 50-pin win in the fourth game. After splitting the fifth game, Sam Houston took the next two games to claim the title.

“This weekend was a complete team contribution and we showed we may be young but the untapped potential and depth is there,” Hagen said. “Even after getting down two in the finals they stayed focused.”

It’s the second win of the season for Sam Houston after taking the championship at the Sugar Bowl Invitational to start the season.