DIXON – For one game, Dixon junior Emily Quaco was the best there was at the Northern Illinois Big 12 girls bowling tournament.
Over the course of six games, however, Quaco and the Duchesses took a back seat to Morris on Monday afternoon at Plum Hollow Lanes.
The Redskins, led by individual champion Jessica Winter, rolled to top honors with a total pinfall of 7,230. It was well ahead of the runner-up Duchesses, who checked in at 6,485.
Streator (6,167), Ottawa (6,091) and LaSalle-Peru (5,974) rounded out the top five teams.
The tournament was sweet redemption for Morris, which was nosed out by Sycamore by one pin (6,336-6-335) in the 2013 conference tournament held in DeKalb.
"The same six girls are here that were here last year," Morris coach Harry Banks said, "so they definitely knew they had lost by one pin. We've been bowling good, so we definitely came in feeling confident about ourselves."
Leading the way for the Redskins was Winter, a junior who racked up a score of 1,291, 27 pins more than runner-up Quaco. It was a far cry from Winter's previous experience at Plum Hollow, when she posted games of 149, 126 and 204 for a 479 series on Dec. 10.
"Last time we were here during the season, I did really bad," Winter said. "Today, I was kind of like, 'Oh my, I'm doing good.' Everybody was cheering me on, and I'm really happy my parents were here to watch me."
In the dual meet between Dixon and Morris, held on Dec. 10, the Duchesses posted a 3,033-2,992 victory. It was all Redskins, however, in the conference tourney.
"Harry has them rolling the ball really, really well," Dixon coach Larry LaCoursiere said. "It was his day. They all bowled really well. We just weren't going to catch them. We had one bad game, but we did as well as we could have expected."
The Duchesses' first game of 931 put them in ninth place among 10 teams, but they slowly worked themselves up over the course of the afternoon. Leading the way was Quaco, who opened with 178, but followed that up with a 269 and 195 for a 642 opening series.
The 269 was the top game of the day. She converted spares in the third and fourth frames, and other than that, it was all strikes.
The second series, Quaco had games of 171, 205 and 246 for a 622 series. The 246 was the fifth-best game in the tourney, and the six-game score of 1,264 was a season-best by a whopping 117 pins.
"I slowed my feet down, so my timing was on," Quaco said.
Jenna Longan finished 11th overall with a 1,155 total, while Katlyn Bay took 14th with a 1,070. Rounding out the Dixon lineup were Ashley Currier (1,049), Margaret Thomas (999) and Michaela Bates (948).
Sterling finished ninth in a 10-team field with a 5,514 total. Destinee Howard (1,071) and Magan Tintori (1,066) led the Golden Warriors.
"It's going to take more seasoning before we become competitive next year," Sterling coach Dennis Black said. "My two big guns, Magan and Destinee, did not have strong performances. They weren't horrible, but they just didn't do their usual dynamite kind of performance. The other four girls are still learning the fundamentals of the game."
Top 3 teams
1. Morris 7,230
2. Dixon 6,485
3. Streator 6,167