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Listen to the pins drop: 2008-09 girls bowling preview | Olympic & Narrows League

Oly’s Alaina Howell rolls a shot against Klahowya last season. - Aaron Managhan/file photo
Oly’s Alaina Howell rolls a shot against Klahowya last season.
— image credit: Aaron Managhan/file photo

Leaves are down, brown and on the ground, but the pins are just now beginning to fall. The 2008-09 girls bowling season is here. Area teams are hopeful for the season, just now beginning, with Olympic and Klahowya looking to dethrone defending state champion Bremerton in the Olympic League, while CK hopes to contend with Wilson and Shelton for the Class 4A Narrows League regular season title.

Here’s a closer look at each team.

Coach Kris Hendricks believes this could be Olympic’s year.

With every bowler expect Jessica Sutton, who graduated, returning from last year’s fifth-place state team and pin-fall averages up across the board, expectations are high for the Lady Trojans.

Hendricks said Wednesday the team looks “really, really good” early on, with the bowlers entering the season crisp after practicing over the summer.

“This year, the starting averages are really good,” Hendricks said. “They practiced a lot and got their skills up, we’re looking really strong.”

Lacee Ness, Audrey Duestch, Alaina Howell, Alma Levario and Liza Ambrose make up Oly’s starting five, with Ambrose leading the way. And Jessica Sutton’s sister, Emily, is vying for a starting spot.

“She’s really close to being in the top five,” Hendricks said.

The team participated in the Olympic League Jamboree Wednesday before beginning the regular season with a statement victory against defending state champion Bremerton Thursday.

The Lady Trojans squeaked out a 1,894- to 1,893-pin victory, coming from behind after the first two regular games to win both Baker games, 170 to 129 and 150 to 141. Awarded one point for knocking down more total pins, Oly won 4-3.

Ambrose rolled a high game of 185 and a series of 363 to lead the Lady Trojans, who also received a series of 322 from Levario. Every Oly bowler rolled a series of at least 289, with Howell posting 289, Ness 294 and Duetsch 305.

“I think we definitely have the ability to beat Bremerton this year,” Hendricks said Wednesday, forecasting the season. “I think we’re pretty strong.”

The team also will use last year’s fifth-place state finish as motivation to improve, as Hendricks called fifth place “disappointing.”

“They felt they could have done better, it was just a couple rough games,” Hendricks said. “Making it to state was an honor, and being able to perform, but they know they could do better.”

So that leaves the 2008-09 Oly squad both experienced and hungry for at least a return trip.

“It’s just going to be a matter of having our varsity players on at the same time,” Hendricks said.

The Lady Trojan bowlers continue Olympic League play against Peninsula Tuesday and Klahowya Thursday before facing North Mason Nov. 25.

The Lady Eagles shot out of the gates Thursday with a 7-0 sweep of North Mason, a sign this year’s squad could be a contender in the Olympic League.

KSS dominated North Mason 1,501 to 1,159 in total pins, behind a high game of 165 and series of 313 from sophomore Carys Bailey.

“They’re looking pretty good,” coach Loree Hippe said.

For KSS and Hippe, the 2008-09 season is defined by improving on both the individual and team level while keeping the game fun. And with a starting five of Bailey, Megan Shultz, Latasha Hall, Jacqui Hornbeck and Riki Wheaton, prospects are bright.

Hippe said 20 bowlers turned out for this year’s team, six more than last season. Couple the solid turnout with the team returning all but one bowler, and the Lady Eagles are a team on the rise.

“We’re out to have fun and if we win, it’s an added bonus,” Hippe said.

And while the Lady Eagles may not win a league title, with 3A Bremerton and 3A Olympic to contend with, they appear as strong as any 2A team.

Schultz bowled a series of 217 against North Mason, while Hall posted a 230, Hornbeck, 219 and Wheaton, 277.

Klahowya is home against Sequim Tuesday — start time is 2:45 p.m. — before five consecutive matches on the road, including Thursday’s match against Olympic at All Star Lanes.

Class 4A Narrows League volleyball is synonymous with Wilson High School, the three-time defending state champion.

But CK coach Bruce Welling believes the Lady Cougars are among the top three Narrows League teams for the 2008-09 season, joining Wilson and Shelton.

“The way I see it is we are the top three teams,” Welling said yesterday, coming off a 7-0 loss against Wilson.

While CK lost the Wilson match 7-0, the scores signaled a closing of the gap between the two teams. Wilson took the first game 890 to 811 and the second game 771 to 721, equating to 79- and 50-pin differences, little more than 10 pins per bowler. Wilson captured the Baker games 173 to 157 and 180 to 139, respectively, to seal the win.

“The kids are doing well, they are working hard,” Welling said. “Everything is going to plan.”

Angie Holland rolled the high game against Wilson, scoring a 193. Holland, Wendy Ellison and Melissa Beers will set the tone for CK this year and all three are off to hot starts.

“All of them are doing very, very well,” Welling said of the trio.

Ellison bowled a 211 in the season-opener against Stadium, signaling she could hang with any bowler in the Narrows League. Beers, meanwhile, offers stability in the starting five.

“She’s probably our most consistent bowler,” Welling said of Beers.

And with only two seniors on the roster, CK, which finished second to Wilson at districts last year, should continue to improve as the season unfolds.

“So far, we’ve done alright,” Welling said. “All they are doing right now is trying to work on their own game.”

The team is home against South Kitsap at 3 p.m. Tuesday before traveling to Bellarmine Prep for a 3 p.m. match Thursday.

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