Klahowya falls to Knights on lanes

Coach pleased despite 7-0 loss to defending 3A state champions.

With less than three weeks remaining until postseason play, the Klahowya girls bowling team is rolling toward the finish line.

The Eagles resumed action Tuesday against Bremerton, falling to the defending 3A state champions 7-0 at All-Star Lanes.

Coach Loree Hippe was relatively pleased with her team’s performance despite the final score, but said her rollers struggle to pick up spares when they need them.

It was the Eagles’ first match since Dec. 16.

“A lot of them needed the break, so that was nice,” Hippe said. “But since we’ve had the long break, we’re going to go back to spare pick up because we had some trouble with that today.”

The match was never really in doubt, although Bremerton needed a strong performance in the latter half of the first regular game to secure the sweep. Klahowya’s Jennifer Donaldson rolled a 222 in that game to keep the Eagles close, but Ariel Wagg, Shanara Hankinson and Samantha Smith each rolled at least 169 to lead BHS to an eventual 818-808 win.

The second regular game wasn’t as close, with BHS knocking down 793 pins to KSS’ 758. The Knights then won the first Baker 187-169 before cruising in the second, 208-136.

“We’re holding our own,” Hippe said.

Carys Bailey, who has anchored the Eagles all season, finished with another strong performance, rolling a team-high series of 377.

“She’s a wonderful girl to coach, she’s very coachable, she’s a lot of fun to have,” Hippe said. “I’ve watched her grow over the last couple of years, so that’s been really nice.”

Bailey is a stable fixture on the team, both as a leader and motivator, and Hippe said having her in the lineup helps the other girls strive to become better.

“They try to beat her,” Hippe said. “If they do that, then the team does well.”

And with a roller like Bailey, who needs little instruction, Hippe is able to help the younger athletes who need more hands-on coaching.

“It’s more telling her, ‘I noticed you doing this,’ and she fixes it herself. I don’t have to do much fixing, which is nice,” Hippe said of Bailey. “Having the reliability of someone you know will bowl well at the end of the game.”

Serenity Jenson, Shannon Frey and Megan Schultz join Bailey and Donaldson as the current starting five, but Hippe said the six through 10 bowlers are only separated by a two-pin average, meaning there will be plenty of competition for the district lineup. Teams send seven bowlers to districts.

“The kids also know that if they bowl really well, they have a chance to knock those other girls off,” Hippe said. “It’s black and white, it’s the top seven averages over the course of the season.”

The team finishes the regular season with road matches against Olympic (Jan. 15), Peninsula (Jan. 20) and Bremerton (Jan. 22).

“They are all doing well, I’m very proud of these young ladies, we’re having a lot of fun,” Hippe said. “Realistically, the goal for most of this is to get kids interested in bowling. It’s a lifelong sport.”

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