PORT ORCHARD — The South Kitsap bowlers have been a little unlucky this season, starting off with some of the top SPSL teams as well as a non-league match against Wilson, a 3A power and state title contender.
But this young team — which lost all but one bowler off of last year’s sixth-place state team — showed off its chops and potential Dec. 12 at Hi-Joy Bowl in a league match against Rogers, taking all four games to bring their league record to 2-3.
Senior Anabelle McElhaney rolled a 197 and a 204 in the two full games for a 200.5 average to lead all South Kitsap bowlers. The Wolves knocked down 1,769 pins in all in the two full games and two Baker games.
“It was a very good showing,” said South Kitsap head coach Lee La Deaux. “It was the best showing we’ve had all season so far.”
McElhaney’s 197 led the way in game one, followed by senior Abigail Rogers — who finished 15th overall at last year’s 4A state tournament — who put up a 174. Maxine Winslow and Lexi Clark added a 124 and 123, respectively, and Gillian Ciarelli threw a 111. McElhaney had a turkey in frames seven, eight and nine.
In game two, McElhaney’s 204 was followed by a 173 from Rogers, a 143 from Laila Heiser and a 126 and 125 from Winslow and Clark, respectively. McElhaney opened the second game with four consecutive strikes and Rogers started off with a turkey to give the Wolves a big early lead. The team finished game two with 771 pins.
Rogers closed the first Baker game with a strike and a spare in the 10th frame to give South Kitsap the win with 129 pins. Winslow added a pair of strikes in the second Baker game as the Wolves racked up 140.
It was kind of performance that justifies the head coach’s belief that his team can get back to the playoffs this year, despite having four new bowlers on the varsity team.
“I believe that we can finish in the top three,” La Deaux said. “It’s just a question of whether they can bowl with this consistency. I think they showed today what they’re capable of doing.”
The Wolves will almost certainly not miss out on the postseason entirely as McElhaney and Rogers have both put up the kind of performances that will help them qualify as individuals. But as La Deaux has noted in the past, it does much more for camaraderie to have the entire team participate together — and La Deaux believes there is plenty of room grow for these young bowlers with the proper practice and dedication.
“I certainly think we have individuals who can get there, but the ideal thing would be to have the team get there,” La Deaux said.
South Kitsap 1769, Rogers 1608
Rogers 709 659 126 114 — 1608
South Kitsap 729 771 129 140 — 1769