The Sterling girls bowling team saved their best for last, finishing their season strong Saturday at the IHSA State Tournament at Cherry Bowl Lanes in Rockford.
The Golden Warriors achieved their goal of placing in the top 10, as senior Amber Granzow set a school record for total pinfall at the state tournament and placed 21st individually.
“I’m tickled pink, and had a great time with these girls,” Sterling coach Dennis Black said. “I wasn’t unhappy, even with a couple of games in the 800s, because the girls didn’t let it get them down. We kept trying to make adjustments, and it was a really satisfying finish to the season … and the careers of my seniors.”
Sterling started Day 2 in 11th place, and moved up into 8th after the second game of the morning session. The Warriors rolled games of 1,000 and 941 to start the day, and still sat in ninth place after an 896 to close out a 2,837 morning session.
Adversity arose in the first game of the afternoon session, when Sterling rolled an 826 to fall back into 11th place. But Black was happy with how his team bounced back, showing a positive attitude to finish with games of 922 and 908 for a 2,656 afternoon series.
“The splits just killed us in that fourth game,” Black said. “We had 12, and the team we were bowling with had 8, and it just killed both of our games. But the girls fought through it, overcame the issue and came back strong.”
Granzow led the way all day, finishing with series of 617 and 607 and a two-day total of 2,490. That eclipsed Allyson Howard’s state-tournament school record of 2,442.
Granzow actually moved into 14th place after games of 214-203-200 in the morning, and she highlighted her final tourney with a 232 in the second afternoon game.
“Amber was without question our leader today,” Black said. “She didn’t have a bad game, and just had some bad luck a couple of times. She’d be on the verge of throwing a blowout game, but she’d see strikes turn into splits and 7-pin leaves even when she was hitting the pocket.”
Junior Destinee Howard followed up Friday’s 1,153 with an 1,122, including a 233 game to start the day. Senior Samantha Lewis, who rolled her best three-game series of the year with a 641 on Friday, finished with a six-game series of 1,014 on Saturday, and classmate Brandy Behrens closed the morning session with a 212 game to highlight her 1,058. Sophomore Magan Tintori backed up the upperclassmen well, bowling a 1,075 on the final day of the season.
“Every girl stepped up and had a great highlight for us these last 2 days,” Black said. “They really came together as a team and supported each other so well, and it was good to see that happen on the biggest stage.”
Sterling’s total pinfall of 11,142 over the two-day tournament placed the Warriors 10th, 37 pins behind ninth-place O’Fallon and 202 short of eighth-place Collinsville, the two teams Sterling was going back and forth with all day. Waubonsie Valley won the team title with a 12,512, followed by Oswego East (12,286), Jefferson (12,190) and Lockport (12,126).
Oswego East’s Giselle Poss won the individual championship with a 2,727, topping runner-up Emily Malone of Jefferson by 28 pins. Moline’s Jessica Howell (2,660), Waubonsie Valley’s Julia Bond (2,634) and Harlem’s Johanna Craig (2,615) rounded out the top five.