LOCKPORT – “Consistency” and “excitement” were the words of the day at the Lockport Regional boys bowling tournament Saturday at Strike N Spare Lanes.
The Porters ran away with the team title as they were the only team to top 1,000 pins in each of the six games. Their total of 6,531 easily outdistanced runner-up Oswego East (6,289).
Also qualifying for next Saturday’s sectional at Laraway Lanes were Plainfield North (6,208) and Plainfield Central (6,205). Plainfield South finished fifth, missing qualifying by 20 pins. Bolingbrook was ninth, Plainfield East 10th, Lemont 11th and Romeoville 12th.
“We have had trouble coming out of the morning break this season,” Lockport coach Ron Davis said. “But not today, we really bowled well all day and were consistent. We preach that you have to avoid the highs and lows of the day and today the kids figured it out and we bowled very even. Our best game was the sixth and were very even between the morning and afternoon.”
Lockport had three individuals finish in the top 10 led by the third-place finish of junior Caleb Derrig, who bowled a 1,398 series. Junior Evan Pleshar was ninth (1,311) and senior Alec Buchhaas 10th (1,311).
“We knew coming in that all we wanted was a top-four finish to qualify for sectionals,” Derrig said. “But when we got the lead after the second game, we were not going to let anyone beat us in our house. We adjusted well to the dryness of the lanes as the day moved on. Practice this week was really good and we knew we were ready.”
North was never in a qualifying position until the final results. The Tigers were in fifth place all day, except after the first game when they were sixth.
In as exciting a final game as could be, North and South were separated by only two lanes, and both were in position to qualify. The Cougars bowled their best game (1,120), finished and watched as North needed a 1,080 to claim a qualifying spot. The Tigers came through and bowled an 1,102.
“This team came through when it mattered,” ecstatic Tigers coach Nancy Kolb-Puglisi said. “We, the coaches, knew what we needed, we all were scoreboard watching and we tried not to let the kids know. With South right next to us and bowling so well, it just fueled our fire. It was so exciting. We were tired of seeing our name in that fifth position all day.”
The individual title proved to be just as exciting as South junior Austin Griffith and Central senior Karl Burns tied at 1,443. The tie was broken on the sixth game score when Griffith bowled a 279 to claim the regional title.
“I’m blown away,” said Griffith, who was in fourth place entering the final game. “But I would much rather have the team going to sectionals. The last couple of games for us were incredible, but we fell just a little short. I bowled well today, but again, it was because of my teammates. They made me better.”
Burns, who many believe is the co-champion, led the majority of the day and talked about his effort.
“I bowled well and stuck to my game,” he said. “We never got down as a team and stayed together even after that bad fifth game. We adjusted and qualified as a team. If we can do that next week, we can qualify for state.”
Also qualifying as individuals for the sectional were three bowlers from South as Griffith will be joined by Cody Gleim and Christian Knowlton. Alex Acosta from Bolingbrook and Lemont’s Patrick Kerrigan also qualified.