GIRLS BOWLING: Holly knocks down Oakland County field
BY DAN STICKRADT
TROY — Holly proved that a bowling tournament such as the Oakland County Championships is a marathon, not a sprint.
After finishing only 12th in the qualifying block out of 27 schools, the state-ranked Bronchos saw a spike in scores and became the last team standing late Sunday afternoon at Thunderbird Lanes in Troy as the 2013 champion of the 10th Annual Oakland County Girls Bowling Championships.
Holly downed White Lake Lakeland, 321-302, in the finals to claim its first county title since 2010.
“They stayed solid all day. They kept positive thoughts all day and were happy all day. It was fun,” said Holly coach Jeff Suma Jr. “We have been bowling well in our league all season and we came on strong today.”
“We’re 5-0 in our league and we’re tied with (Flint) Kearsley. They are the top team in the state and we hope to continue to bowl well,” continued Suma. “This (win) should help give us confidence (that we can compete).”
Holly collected 2892 points in the qualifying block to finish a distance 12th, as part of the top 16 teams that reached bracket play. The Bronchos defeated fifth-seeded South Lyon in the Round of 16 (299-281), downed fourth-seed Walled Lake Western in the quarterfinals (301-255) and knocked down top-seeded Waterford Mott in the semifinals (306-275).
Seeded sixth, White Lake Lakeland defeated 11th-seeded Milford (315-229), third-seeded and defending county champion Lake Orion (411-333) and second-seeded Walled Lake Central (330-303) to reach the finals.
Lakeland has come a long ways since graduating four of its top six key bowlers from last season.
“They’ve come a long way this year,” said Lakeland coach Tom Oddi. “We had four seniors graduate last year, so everyone on the team is starting full-time for the first time in their career. They’ve been really struggling with Baker games. We knew coming in we had to do really well in Baker games to have shot. The girls really stepped up and the teamwork was the best I’ve seen it.
“We are getting better,” he continued. “We have some good teams in our league and we hope we can put it all together (come regional weekend).”
Walled Lake Central downed Waterford Mott (372-311) in the third-place match.
Waterford Mott grabbed the top seed out of the qualifying block with a 3364 team score, some 34 pins ahead of Walled Lake Central (3330). Lake Orion was third (3243), while Walled Lake Western (3201), South Lyon (3150), White Lake Lakeland (3123), Clarkston (3093), Farmington/Harrison Unified (3016), Oxford (2997) and Farmington Hills Mercy (2957) also finished in the top 10.
Milford grabbed the 11th position (2902), followed by Holly, North Farmington (2864), Waterford Kettering (2852), Ferndale (2842) and Royal Oak (2683) as the other teams to advance out of the qualifying block.
In singles play, Maria Walawender of Farmington Hills Mercy posted a 673 to claim the crown. Mott’s Talla Harden was second (642), Clarkston’s Chelsea Turk (624), Milford’s Theresa Bashara (598) and Ortonville Brandon’s Mallory Huckabone (598) also finished in the top five. South Lyon’s Morgan Hatton (595), Walled Lake Western’s Madalyn Klein (591), Mott’s Marissa Land (582), Lakeland’s Kourtney Tschiirhart (580) and Lake Orion’s Courtney LeBlanc (578) rounded out the top 10 in singles play.
(Dan Stickradt is Senior Editor for Digital Daily www.northoaklandsports.com and The Real Deal sports and coupons magazine, as well as a freelance writer for multiple media outlets, including State Champs! High School Sports Show website. He is a 20-year veteran sports journalist based in Oakland County, Mich. He can be reached by email at [email protected]. Follow on Twitter @LocalSportsFans.)