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Bowling: Region schools send eight teams to state

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Updated: February 10, 2013 1:43AM



SOUTH BEND — Eight Northwest Indiana high school bowling teams made the trip east to South Bend’s Chippewa Bowl for semistate.

At around 3:45 p.m., central time, eight region teams were making plans and reservations for next weekend’s 14th state finals at Arrowhead Bowl in Lafayette.

In the boys division, it was Highland, Lake Central, Hobart and Munster moving on. The Brickies and Mustangs needed to rally to earn those last two spots.

For the girls it was Boone Grove, Portage, Lake Central and Highland with the blue Indians and the Trojans also needing to rally late in the five Baker games to advance.

“We all represented Northwest Indiana well,” Highland boys coach Janee Babbitt said.

That’s an understatement. In addition to the sweep, region teams captured both titles. Highland defeated Northrop 406-355 in the boys final, while Portage exacted a little revenge on Boone Grove with a 389-356 win in the girls final. The Wolves had beaten the red Indians the previous week in the regional final.

Coming through late was the theme of the day. The LC girls fell out of the top six with one game to go before rolling a 205 — their best of the Baker games.

“I told them going into Bakers that our season comes down to these five games and they came through,” LC coach Stephanie Cooley said.

Specifically, it was Jamie Zega, Caitlin Fortner, Kierstyn Rush and Kelly Belzeski throwing strikes in the last five frames.

“I didn’t think we would get fifth place,” Zega said. “It was a pleasant surprise.”

Highland was in a similar position after its second Baker game of 127. But the Trojans followed that up with 193 and 199 to seal a state finals trip.

“I told them (after the second game) if you want to go to state, it was up to them,” Highland girls coach Lisa Dickerson said.

Munster boys got a boost in the second regular game with a tourney-high 1,099. Tyler Hansen shot 269 and Robert Dawson had 254 in that game. But the Bakers weren’t going so well for the Mustangs, and those two bowlers needed some heroics in the final two frames of the last game to get their team to state.

“That was the best 10th frame of my life,” Hansen said about his three strikes that were set up by one from Dawson. “I have to give a shout out to (LC anchor) Nathan (Maciejewski), who told me I needed those strikes. We all picked each other up when we needed it.”

And not to be outdone, the Hobart boys needed to step up in the last two Baker games after falling to eighth place. The Brickies exploded with games of 226 and 227 to advance.

“That was a great way to finish,” Hobart coach Jerry James Sr. said. “I think (after the third game) they realized this could be it for them. But these guys never give up.”



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