By AARON MANAGHAN
The Bremerton Knights knew this was the match that mattered most.
Facing off against rivals Olympic for the third time this season on Tuesday, the Knights knew a win would virtually secure the top Olympic Leauge spot and a repeat as Oly League champs. A loss would keep the Trojans hopes alive with a little help from others.
But with the undefeated Knights (10-0) earning a 5-2 win and sweeping the Trojans (8-3), Bremerton showed just how deep the team really is, padding the team’s position in the top spot with four games left in the season. One more win and the team will officially lock up the Oly League crown.
“It’s a big relief,” Wagner said of taking the third match from Oly. “The girls have worked hard this year. They’re really coming together as a team. We always seem to have someone step up.”
With anchor bowler and captain Emmy Thomas hindered by a pulled forearm muscle, it was Ariel Wagg’s who stepped up once again, nearly marking in every opportunity for game scores of 203 and 232. But even better than the performance itself was that it came when the Knights needed it most against their friendly rivals.
“It’s so much fun,” Wagg said of the Oly series. “They’re all really hard to play against. It feels really good.”
“Everybody has their good days and their bad days, and Ariel was on fire today,” coach Dean Wagner said. “Everything she was doing was nice.”
While Wagg’s scores led the way, totaling in the high series of 435, the 5-2 win was a team effort, with Kirstie Brace rolling a 199 and Samm Stephens contributing a 193.
In the first game, Bremerton took Oly down 838-782. Olympic responded with one of the highest scores in school history, rolling an 898 to Bremerton’s 860. In the first Baker, Bremerton won handily 173-125, but the second was as close as ever, with the Knights edging Oly 159-156.
“With this win, it puts us in great position going into the postseason and districts,” Wagner said.
The win comes on the heels of a strong performance at the Tower Classic last Saturday at Tower Lanes in Tacoma. Featuring some of the top teams in the state, the Knights took third place, with Wagg again posting the day’s high mark of 208.
Kelso won the tournament, while defending 4A champs Wilson were second with just four pins on the Knights. The Knights finished ahead of defending 3A champs Shelton, which took fourth.
“That was all the top teams in the state,” Wagner said. “For us to be, after 190 frames, four pins off Wilson and to beat Shelton was really good for the girls. They were really consistent, they supported each other and they stepped up to the competition.”
He said the tournament also gave his squad another opportunity to show Bremerton in a positive light.
“These girls represent Bremerton so much,” Wagner said. “When we go to other lanes, like the tournament, they represent so well. They got some recognition for that even.”