The Rhinelander area boys' and girls' club bowling teams produced nearly identical scores Sunday during a non-conference match at Edgar Lanes.
The Rhinelander/Three Lakes boys averaged 152.9 pins and filled 63% of their frames of a nine-game series while the Rhinelander/Elcho girls averaged 150.7 pins and filled 62% of their frames.
Though the end totals were nearly identical, how the scores were perceived was greatly different. That's because the Hodag girls were slightly better than their season-long team averages in score and fill percentage while the Hodag boys were significantly lower in both categories.
The girls' squad improved incrementally over each of the first five games, starting with a 136 and following with scores of 138, 144, 145 and 166. After a drop off to 136 in Game 6, the Hodags posted their best scores of the day - 178 and 174 - in Games 7 and 8 before finishing the series with a 140.
"They just kept going up and up and up, getting better, picking up a few more spares," coach Mike Bourcier said. "I think they would win a number of matches with those scores. I'm very pleased with how they did."
Because the Hodag girls and boys competed in separate shifts Sunday in Edgar's eight-lane facility, Bourcier had the luxury was watching the entire girls' match, something he cannot do when both squads are bowling simultaneously.
"Being able to be with the girls the whole meet was kind of a nice change, getting a feel for how they act and how they mix with one another while the tournament goes, was really nice to see," he said. "I like it. No one was really getting down. If someone did, the rest of the girls helped bring them back up and they kept rooting for each other."
The team's top two bowlers, juniors Katrina Blasius and Mackenzie Bourcier, helped their causes as they try to qualify for the Wisconsin High School Bowling Club state meet as individuals. Both filled 16 of the 18 frames that they bowled on the day to up their season-long fill percentages. Blasius jumped up to 81.7% on the year while Bourcier improved to 77.0% to sit fourth and sixth, respectively, in the individual standings.
Coach Bourcier said he was most impressed with senior Alexis Kriesel, who filled 11 of her 18 frames with five strikes on Sunday, much better than her 47% fill rate entering the meet.
"Alexis did really well, had only seven opens on the day," he said. "She was picking up her corner pin spares. She was throwing the ball with some authority. I was very impressed with how Alexis did and she bowled very well."
Blasius had 10 strikes, while Mackenzie Bourcier and Bella Walkowski (10 fills) each had six strikes. Paige Bailey had three fills on the day.
Later in the afternoon, the Hodag boys seemed stuck in a rut with a rash of games in the 150s and 140s. Rhinelander started with games of 159, 159, 148, 158 and 159 in its first five games. Not once did Rhinelander match its season average of 172 pins during the nine game series. The team's best performance cam with a 162 in Game 8.
"They just could not get it going on the day," coach Bourcier said. "They'd get a little going and then they would fall off, missing some easy spares. There were a lot of single-pin counts."
Senior Calvin Schneider, currently third overall in the District 9 individual standings, filled 16 of 18 frames with nine strikes on the day to bump his season-long fill rate up to 86.5%. Kody Litzen filled 13 frames with six strikes, Eric Jones had 10 fills and six strikes, Cody Bednarz had eight fills and three strikes and Jeremiah Braun had eight fills with six strikes.
Middle schoolers fall to Antigo
The Hodag middle school team had a couple of close games, but fell to Antigo 7-2 Sunday afternoon in the final shift of the day.
Rhinelander averaged 130 pins over the nine games and filled 48.9% of its frames as a team. Alex Hall led the way with 13 fills and five strikes, Calvin Welch had 11 fill and four strikes, Johanna Dellenbach had eight filled and four strikes, Payton McCue had eight fills and two strikes, and Blake Klingen had five fills and one strike.
"You look at their scores compared to their average for the year, they were above their average," coach Bourcier said. "They've seen some improvements. Payton we're working on, Blake's getting a lot better, Johanna had an off day, Alex did really well and Calvin was right about where he was (previously)."
The Hodags' best game of the day was Game 2, which they won 147-132 to tie the match at one. Rhinelander dropped the next five, including close 138-131 and 146-140 decisions in Games 4 and 5, before taking Game 8 145-141.
Home meet ahead
The Hodags will host the fifth and sixth conference matches of the season Sunday at Hodag Lanes. It will be an action-packed day of bowling as the Division 1 squads bowl the 10 and 11:30 a.m. shifts. The Division 2 boys and girls' squads will compete in the afternoon shifts at 1:30 and 3.
"Everyone's excited," coach Bourcier said. "We're going to do some raffles and fundraisers for our bowling club, a bake sale and all that kind of stuff. If anyone wants to come out and watch, it will be great."
Jeremy Mayo may be reached at email@example.com.
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